Election expenses: Unlock Democracy demands national police investigation

Press release - for immediate release

Statement from Unlock Democracy

Contact: Alexandra Runswick (alex.runswick@unlockdemocracy.org.uk T: 020 7239 9051 M: 07739 586 666)

Unlock Democracy has today launched a petition [1] calling for a national police investigation into election expenses, to be led by the Metropolitan Police.

So far, 29 MPs are under investigation by ten police forces across the country for breaching election campaign spending limits. However, with the legal deadline for prosecution on 11 June looming, some police forces have yet to request an extension for their investigations. The Conservative Party has now gone to court to oppose Kent Police’s request for an extension of their investigation into expenses in South Thanet.

A national police investigation is needed to ensure that all election expenses allegations are dealt with properly. One of the key tasks of national investigation must be to establish whether there have been systematic efforts to break the rules.

Unlock Democracy has also called for transparency in the reporting of election expenses, and for the Electoral Commission to be given the power to investigate breaches of local candidate spending limits. [3]

Commenting on election expenses allegations, Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy, said:

“These election expenses allegations should be dealt with seriously. Election campaign spending rules protect our democracy from the influence of money. The integrity of our elections is at stake.

So far, the police response on election expenses has been patchy. Now the Conservatives are actively opposing further investigation into expenses in South Thanet.

The only way to give all these allegations a fair hearing is a national police investigation, coordinated by the Metropolitan Police. The public need to know whether there were systematic efforts to break the rules.”

ENDS

Notes

Unlock Democracy is a grassroots campaign for fair politics, accountable government and citizen engagement.

[1] http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1810&ea.campaign.id=51351

[2] http://www.channel4.com/news/conservative-party-opposes-election-expenses-extension

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/alexandra-runswick/the-next-expenses-scandal_b_10125910.html