Kate Taylor: There’s a difference between innocence and lack of evidence

Today has seen the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) state that 14 police investigations into the Conservative Party’s campaign spending will not lead to charges against candidates.

After 2015’s electoral campaign, queries centred around the Tory’s ‘Battle Bus’ that drove up and down the UK arose. The official accounts were called into question as to whether the bus should have been paid for out of local or national Party budgets; as there are strict limitations set on spending for political parties.

However there is one case still under consideration, of which no details have been given at the present time.

As The Lincolnite reported earlier, Lincoln’s MP Karl McCartney has been exonerated after the investigations into electoral fraud. He has called for ‘heads to roll’ and been very specific in his opinions of the Electoral Commission, including Louise Edwards, Head of Regulatory Compliance – of which he has accused her of purposely ‘smearing’ the party’s reputation.

This coming not long after emails from the Lincoln MP to the Conservative Party Chairman were leaked into national media, Sky News reported there were emails they had seen in which Mr. McCartney stated local MPs “feel completely cast adrift by CCHQ/whips/the parliamentary party and left to fend for themselves”.

He goes on to say: “At what stage do you think you (the Party) might inform us that another media s***storm is coming? We didn’t create this mess, the clever dicks at CCHQ did, and I don’t see their professional reputations being trashed in the media much.”

Perhaps Theresa May’s snap election speech stating that ‘the country is coming together, but Westminster is not’ is a deeper insight into the cracks between party members than previously thought.

Our local MP and PM alike may be blasting the CPS’ announcement from the rooftops, but as the press pointed out to May in Nottingham earlier today, it never stated anyone was ‘innocent’.

The Electoral Commission who Karl McCartney seems to so diligently have his eye on have already fined the party £70,000 after finding errors in their national spending reports; and have said the CPS findings tally with the evidence they collected.

Head of Special Crimes for the CPS, Nick Vamos, stated that although there was evidence to suggest the returns may have been inaccurate, there wasn’t enough evidence to suggestion intentional wrong doing. It was then said that according to their ‘full code test‘ it would not be in the matter of public interest to investigate further.

Is this down to a National Election taking place? Finding out whether your democratic representatives have committed fraud (whilst trying to win your vote) and anyone found guilty of such being appropriately punished (a £70,000 fine from the electoral commission seems a drop in the ocean for the richest political party in the United Kingdom) seems to be a top priority for the general public, surely?

Whatever the outcome of remaining enquiries, we can but hope that all of the political parties remain diligent with their spending and responsibilities in the run up to June 8.