‘I have done nothing wrong’, says Lincoln MP as Conservatives fined £70k over election expenses

Member of Parliament for Lincoln Karl McCartney has criticised the Electoral Commission as a fine of £70,000 was imposed on his party for election campaign spending failures.

The fine comes after it was revealed a dozen police forces including Lincolnshire Police had handed files to the Crown Prosecution Service.

In its report, published on Thursday, March 16, the Electoral Commission’s investigation is said to have found “significant failures” by the party to properly report its local campaign spending in the 2015 general election.

The watchdog’s inquiry, which is separate to the criminal investigation, concluded that some election spending was wrongly listed under national party spending rather than under local campaign expenses.

Particular attention has been given to the party’s BattleBus 2015, which saw party volunteers bussed into marginal constituencies including Lincoln.

Disputes arose over spending on hotels and campaign material, which has been listed under national expenditure.

The Electoral Commission added that Labour and the Lib Dems have also been fined and has outlined a need for a review into processes and requirements.

Karl McCartney recently reacted to the progress of the 12 police forces’ investigations, claiming in an email leaked to Sky News that party officials had thrown MPs under the bus.

He said on the news of the Electoral Commission’s fine: “There is an ongoing police investigation and as such I would prefer not to comment directly on that as it has yet to be concluded other than to say I know I have done nothing wrong and I acted honestly and properly throughout my election campaign, as did, very importantly, my election agent.

“I have been happy to co-operate with the local police investigation, but am exasperated by the partisan and inconsistent actions and announcements by the Electoral Commission who should be politically neutral but are clearly and obviously far from that.”

Concerns over the Conservative Party’s spending in the election was first raised publicly by a Channel 4 news investigation.