The Conservatives Will Be Protected From Their Election Fraud 257

It is hard to think of bigger news than that the Electoral Commission is taking the governing party to court over alleged fraud in its election accounts, with possible disqualifications that could cost the government its majority. Yet the issue has received remarkably little coverage apart from the very dogged work of Channel 4 News. Why is that?

There are a number of reasons. The first is that the media has a major pro-Tory bias and minimises bad news for the Tories as a matter of course. The most remarkable example of this is the continual playing down of divisions within the Conservative Party over Europe, which run to extreme levels of personal hatred and abuse. But you do not see that hatred and abuse reflected, whereas divisions within the Labour Party are reported daily in extreme detail.

If you doubt what I say, consider the fact that it is quite openly acknowledged that, under pressure from No.10, the media are organising the televised debates for the EU referendum so that Conservatives are never seen to be debating each other. That is the most extraordinary piece of media connivance, and even entails the media excluding the official Leave campaign from at least one national debate. What is deeply worrying is that the UK has become a country where nobody is surprised or concerned at this kind of blatant state propaganda manipulation.

Which leads me to the second reason for lack of mainstream prominence for the Tory electoral fraud. The entire political class realise that they are now floating atop a sea of massive popular resentment. There is a wariness of further laying bare the corruption of the system, and darkening the public mood still more. The Establishment wants the EU referendum to go through as smoothly as possible, with people voting how their betters instruct them; it is no time for Establishment dirty linen to be laundered in public. So they pretend that absolutely nothing is happening:

The Guardian briefly ran a story on the front page of their website – it was there only a few hours – explaining that legal restrictions made it impossible for them to publish. This is untrue, particularly when so much has been published by Channel 4. The Guardian also connived to make it appear that the only expenses in question were the costs of a bus. It is very much more than that.

The Ramsgate angle caught my eye because I used to live there, not far from the Royal Harbour Hotel which the Conservatives rented out for £14,000 to house activists bussed in to support their local candidate. You leave the money for your drinks in the Royal Harbour on the counter, it has an honesty bar – evidently as a door policy. The Conservatives did not declare this spending, which would have put their candidate far over his constituency spending limit. Having been rumbled, they claim it was a part of national spending.

I stood as an independent anti-war candidate against Jack Straw in Blackburn in 2005. One of the very many ways the system is fixed against independent candidates, is that while I had to keep spending within very tight limits, all the major commercial billboards in the city were plastered with massive “Vote Labour” posters. This did not count against Straw’s expenses because it was part of a national poster campaign, and his name did not appear on those huge billboards.

But there is a very definite difference between that, and the cost of bringing in workers who were actively canvassing and leafleting for a named candidate in the constituency. This must be constituency spending or the term is meaningless. There is no doubt that at least 14 Tory MPs whose campaigns ran this massive overspending (and that one undeclared hotel bill alone made the total overshoot the limit by 50%) ought to be disqualified.

But they will not be. The other reason that this has not been more of a story, is that everyone in the metropolitan political and media bubble knows that nobody will be disqualified. Because we only live in the illusion of a democracy, and threats to the Establishment are gently put to sleep.

When I stood against Jack Straw, he held specifically targeted “Muslims for Labour” rallies during the election campaign at which all the voters who came were given free food and drink. That is a specific criminal offence known as “Treating”. Jack Straw was foreign secretary at the time, and not only were the police aware of the treating, they were actually both inside the hall and guarding it from protestors outside.

In an effort to have the law of the land enforced, I gathered a number of sworn affidavits from voters who had been present, and gave them to the Police with my own sworn complaint. Here is one example of the affidavits:

1, I attended an event in Audley yesterday on Sunday 25 April 2010 at Jan’s Conference Centre in Blackburn.
2. I heard that Mohammad Sarwar MP and the ex Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir Sultan Mahmood were going to be present.
3. I can confirm that the people on the stage were Mohammed Sarwar MP, Barrister Sultan Mahmood, Jack Straw MP, the ex Mayor Salas Kiyani, Lord Adam Patel and others.
4. They all gave speeches to support and ask us to vote for Jack Straw in the MP elections.
5. We were given free food consisting of roti, meat curry, sweet rice and coke.
Affirmed this 26th day of April 2010
By the within named …… at
BLACKBURN in the County of Lancashire
Before me
M Wrendall,
Solicitor and Commissioner for Oaths”

This is the provision of the 1983 Representation of the People Act

114.-(1) A person shall be guilty of a corrupt practice if he .
is guilty of treating.
(2) A person shall be guilty of treating if he corruptly, by
himself or by any other person, either before, during or after an
election, directly or indirectly gives or provides, or pays wholly
or in part the expense of giving or providing, any meat, drink,
entertainment or provision to or for any person-
(a) for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or
any other person to vote or refrain from voting ; or
(b) on account of that person or any other person having
voted or refrained from voting, or being about to vote
or refrain from voting.
(3) Every elector or his proxy who corruptly accepts or takes
any such meat, drink, entertainment or provision shall also be
guilty of treating.

Blackburn police were obliged to investigate my complaint, and after interviewing witnesses a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. I was told by Blackburn Police that the CPS had decided not to prosecute because it was an “old law”. While it is true that, like murder, it is an old offence, the crime had been included in the 1983 Representation of the People Act. I have no doubt whatsoever that Jack Straw was guilty of treating, ought to have been convicted, and was corruptly protected by the Crown Prosecution Service. Needless to say, the Director of Public Prosecutions at the time is now in the House of Lords. That folks is how the UK works.

The truth is that in this country, electoral law is not enforced against those in power. That is why there is not much publicity around the Tory electoral fraud in at least 14 of their constituencies. It will be made quietly to go away.

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257 thoughts on “The Conservatives Will Be Protected From Their Election Fraud

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  • John Spencer-Davis

    If I were the Electoral Commission, I would want to look very carefully at the mechanics of how the electoral expenditure returns were completed.

    “A Conservative spokesperson said: “CCHQ campaigned across the country for the return of a Conservative Government. Such campaigning would be part of the national return, not local return, as the Electoral Commission has said. As is apparent from our National Return, the Party declared expenditure related to our CCHQ-organised Battlebus.

    “However, due to administrative error it omitted to declare the accommodation costs of those using the vehicles. This is something we have already brought to the attention of the Electoral Commission in order to amend the return.

    “The Party always took the view that our national Battlebus, a highly-publicised campaign activity, was part of the National Return – and we would have no reason not to declare it as such, given that the Party was some millions below the national spending threshold. Other political parties ran similar vehicles which visited different Parliamentary constituencies as part of their national campaigning.””

    It would in my opinion be exceedingly difficult to omit to declare these accommodation costs due to “administrative error”. Every invoice that the Conservative Party receives for campaigning will be recorded in a double entry bookkeeping accountancy package which will record the accommodation costs as campaigning expenditure. Persons preparing the main electoral return, and very likely local returns also, will have been working from reports produced by that accountancy package. The accommodation costs will have been recorded as either local or national expenditure. Most probably local, in my judgement, as it would be much easier to do that with accommodation than it would with the Battlebus expenses.

    Someone of integrity preparing local and national returns will have turned around and said “What do we do with these costs?” Higher authority will have said: “Leave them out.” You can’t leave out costs which are within an accounting system by accident very easily. And If that was done, why these costs, and just these costs? If costs were missed by accident I would expect much bigger chunks than these, random ones maybe, or all local costs for one or more areas, or all accommodation costs, and also that it would not be these particular highly inconvenient costs which just happen to interfere with the electoral spending limits.

    These costs were left out deliberately, meaning the action was fraudulent and they knew damned well what they were doing. The Electoral Commission needs to examine carefully how the costs were recorded in the accounting system and how that was fed through to the national and local returns. I hope someone is prosecuted for this and I hope the seats have to be re-contested.

    • fred

      I don’t know about this myself John, not not having been on the campaign trail personally so I have to rely on the testimony of someone who has.

      “And it is very, very difficult. When you are dashing around campaigning like mad, living from hotel to hotel and firmly focused on the campaign, record keeping is not on the top of your mind. Receipts are stuffed into trousers, shirts, jackets, suitcases, laptop bags. A lot of hotels now don’t give you a physical receipt but promise to email one on. I am only able to piece together a very partial account of what I spent during the white hot period of campaigning.”

      • John Spencer-Davis

        Very droll, Fred, and much appreciated! However, Craig was one person spending his own cash and collecting his own receipts for it. A machine like the Conservative Party will have handled matters very differently, and they have their own accounting department whose job it is to get credit card expenditure, for example, fully reconciled and analysed at regular intervals.

        • fred

          But not Natalie McGarry’s own money.

          The £17,000 of our money Angus MacNeil spent on taking his mistress to a £150 a night London hotel when he owns a house in Lambeth we helped pay for wasn’t his own money, But that, apparently, is so trivial a matter it isn’t even mentioned yet what looks to me like a trivial accounting error which cost the tax payer nothing and nobody seems to have benefited from financially becomes a hanging offence.

        • John Spencer-Davis

          I must say this is a remarkable story. Is this the way politicians generally behave?

          “MacNeil had billed the taxpayer almost £17,000 for hotel stays in the 2014-15 financial year, despite owning a flat in the nearby London suburb of Lambeth.
          He bought the property with the help of the taxpayer when the previous expenses system allowed them to claim back mortgage payments.
          But when the system was changed, he decided to rent the flat out, bank the revenue, and charge the taxpayer to stay in hotels when in London.”

          “MacNeil […] first brought shame to the party in 2007 when he was caught with girls aged 17 and 18 in a hotel room when his pregnant wife was in hospital.”

          “Last year he lashed out at the expenses watchdog after it refused to fork out £250 for one-night stays.”

          The scary thing is that this is hardly even news – seems to be quite the norm and doesn’t even raise eyebrows.

          To be fair to MacNeil, the report does not say that the £17,000 is all for trysts with his lover.

          I am not sure that it is accurate to describe an overspend on election expenses as a “trivial accounting error”. The Battlebus seems to have been extremely important to the Conservative Party, otherwise they would not have used it. Who is to say that it did not make the difference between a marginal seat going to the Conservatives and going to some other party? Also, examining Channel 4’s evidence of the local electoral returns, it seems pretty obvious that they have been manipulated to place them close to, but not to exceed, the local limit. It looks to me as it the motto has been “spend first and make up the figures later.” However, I would not be at all surprised if this were true of all parties – just because the Tories are in the dock for doing this does not mean other parties should not or will not join them there.

    • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

      Mr Spencer Davis

      All good until your last para, which is were you take leave of analysis and appear to have decided that “these costs were left out deliberately, meaning the action was fraudulent”.

      That’s a pity because, in my opinion, your analysis does not lead ineluctably to that conclusion.

      From your post, it would appear that:

      1/. the Electoral Commission is reported as sayingthat such campaigning would be part of the national return, not local return, as the Electoral Commission has said.


      2/. such campaigning costs could easily have been included under the national spending return without the national spending limit being exceeded.

      Would that not lend weight to the idea that the non-inclusion of that expenditure in the national return was indeed a cock-up rather than a conspiracy?

      It seems that the the essential question is whether the Conservative spokesman who said that “such campaigning would be part of the national return, not local return, as the Electoral Commission has said” was telling the truth or lying.

    • giyane

      Well said J S-D. I love doing my business accounts. I use VT cash book. It’s like tidying your shed and cutting your hair, cleansing and therapeutic. If the accounts have been done, they will show the inconsistencies.

      But have they been done? Very unlikely.

  • glenn

    RoS: Thanks for your comments earlier today.

    Tell you what, I’m willing to call a truce. If you stop telling lies about me, I’ll stop telling the truth about you.


  • Loony

    Unsurprisingly the comments on this blog descend into petty infighting.

    Meanwhile in the real world we are, according to Professor Stephen Cohen facing a more dangerous situation than that engendered by the Cuban missile crisis.

    NATO holds a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of an anti missile base in Romania. An anti missile base that can be readily converted into a missile launching base. 4 full NATO brigades are to be deployed on the Russian border in the Baltic – the first time foreign troops have been so close to Russia since 1941.

    Senior NATO commanders seem convinced that Russia will attack in the Baltic – although no evidence for this exists.

    The only certainties are that Russia will not surrender and Russia can defend itself. Attacking Russia will not be like blowing up people in Iraq or Afghanistan, These people will bring destruction to your doorstep – wherever that may be.

    Why would Russia attack through the Baltic? What purpose would be achieved? Like most previous Anglo-American victims Russia just wants to be left alone. If that is not possible then why would Russia not consolidate its position in the Ukraine. There is a plausible chance that Russia could create a new refugee problem for western Europe – but this one including tens of thousands of full blown Nazis. As we support them then surely we should welcome them! Quite how Ukrainian Nazis will blend in with the newly arrived refugees remains to be seen – no doubt all will work out just fine.

    Is it not surprising how holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for a missile base attracts no comment.
    Is it not surprising how Putin is aggressive but stationing troops next to the Russian border is not aggressive. Perhaps Putin could prove his non aggression by stationing a few Russian divisions in Mexico hard up against the Rio Grande.
    Is it not surprising how no-one cares about the continued lurch toward destruction for no explicable reason.

  • Silvio

    Loony wrote:” Meanwhile in the real world we are, according to Professor Stephen Cohen facing a more dangerous situation than that engendered by the Cuban missile crisis.”

    So then, how does the idea of a US president suffering from Alzheimer’s grab you?

    Fascist Billionaire’s Continued Erratic Behavior Raises Questions About His Mental Health; Does He Consciously Flip-Flop, or Do His Rapid Shifts Reflect the Ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease, Which Claimed the Life of His Father?

    What makes this avenue of inquiry compelling is the obvious match between the textbook symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Trump’s own erratic behavior. One author who has taken the lead in courageously calling attention to the obvious is Sophia McClennin, currently Professor of International Affairs and Comparative Literature at Penn State University and founding director of the Center for Global Studies,………


    McClennin and others were shocked by the discussion with Trump when he recently visited the Washington Post Editorial Board. Here, Trump was asked repeatedly as to whether he was proposing to use nuclear weapons against ISIS. In response to the question of whether he would go nuclear, Trump offered this incoherent non-reply:

    “I don’t want to use, I don’t want to start the process of nuclear. Remember the one thing that everybody has said, I’m a counterpuncher. Rubio hit me. Bush hit me. When I said low energy, he’s a low-energy individual, he hit me first. I spent, by the way, he spent 18 million dollars’ worth of negative ads on me. That’s putting [MUFFLED]…”

    When the editor pushed further, reminding Trump that the question was about ISIS rather than the other candidates, as his answer had no bearing on the question at hand, Trump again went completely off the rails.

    “I’ll tell you one thing, this is a very good-looking group of people here. Could I just go around so I know who the hell I’m talking to?”3

    Trump cannot give a straight answer, and quickly drifts away into one of his typical obsessive-compulsive vendettas against rival candidates. He then seems to lose track of where he is, reminding readers of the unfortunate Admiral Stockdale, Ross Perot’s vice presidential candidate, when he seemed to awake from his slumber to call out in the middle of his vice presidential debate with Al Gore and Dan Quayle “Where am I? Why am I here?” in 1992. (Look for the May 18, 2016 entry)

      • Mulga Mumblebrain

        Alan, just imagine if it was Chinese spy-planes flying into US airspace, in pursuit of preparations for aggressive war, like the US ‘AirSea Battle’ doctrine? Of course the Guardian sewer is there, just aching to recreate the Opium Wars (now re-labeled Hopium Wars I suppose).

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Your source, Mr Webster Tarpley, suggests that Trump is suffering from hereditary early onset Alzheimer’s Disease and his grounds for suggesting this are apparently that Fred Trump, Donald’s father, died from this cause in 1999.

      What is the evidence that Fred Trump died from early onset Alzheimer’s Disease? None. Wikipedia (sorry) states that Fred Trump died at the age of 93 (extremely unlikely longevity for a sufferer of that condition) and that he had had the condition for six years. That means that the condition was first diagnosed in Fred Trump at the age of 87 at the earliest. That’s not early onset Alzheimer’s, and sounds much more like an average diagnosis in which genetic components are much less important if present at all.

      That’s not to say that Donald Trump does not have Alzheimer’s Disease. I don’t know whether he does or not. But the evidence available is not only not in favour of hereditary early onset, but positively against it.

      • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

        Good post, deplorably fact-based 🙂

        Who is this “Webster Tarpley”? Does he have form?

        • giyane

          He’s your alter-ego. The embodiment of everything you are not or pretend not to be.

      • Jim

        Hi john, I may be wrong in my reading of the piece (I’m no geneticist), but the article does not state that Trump’s father suffered from early onset Alzheimer’s. The actual words are : “Or we could start from the fact that his father died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1999″.

        Later in the piece : There are two types of Alzheimer’s – early onset & late onset. Both types have a genetic component.”

        Later again : “FAD requires the patient to have had at least one first degree relative with a history of AD. Non-familial cases of AD are referred to as ‘sporadic’.” This seems to imply that FAD does not require the patient to to have had at least one first degree relative with a history of FAD. Any geneticists out there who can throw light on this?

  • nevermind

    The Conservative Party should be questioned and if found guilty of breaking the law, punished for their electoral fraud.
    This is not about any old party and the vague possibility that they might have done it before and got away with it, does not exonerate their actions.
    The electoral Commission has no time to check all the returns, but they do collate and keep them,afaik. To argue that we now have to look at all other returns, because we found the Tory’s to be electoral law breakers, is nothing but spurious diversion from the culprits.

    I found guilty of deliberate false accouting and returning of expenses, these constituencies should face a by-election that has the spending restrictions of a GE. Those who were found to be the instigators of deliberately misinterpreting the rules governing spending during GE should be barred from taking part in elections, they can not be trusted not to divert this ancient, insufficient and unfair electoral system which is open to fraud.

    This can’t be an administrative error as central office spending and constituency spending are separate, they can’t be combined.

  • Dave

    You need a certain amount to function as a political party, you need administrative costs, but once you have that its the message that counts and in a proportional voting system you will get representation if your message has significant support and it will not require much spending to attract that support.

    For example spending a few pounds on black and white duplicated leaflets with a popular message, will attract more votes than an unpopular message published in an expensive coloured brochure. That said many people vote out of party loyalty without seeing any leaflets and this can be maintained until the party stops listening.

    I do believe this concentration on spending limits, although I agree overspending is illegal and the conservatives are guilty, is a diversion because it implies if spending limits were observed the system would be improved. No, improving the system requires a change to proportional voting, because the money only matters in a rotten system that can be bought with a few votes.

    That is, its better to use cases of electoral fraud as a reason to change the system, rather than prosecute the culprits, because all parties are guilty and investigations into spending becomes electoral red tape to hinder rather than promote democracy. I mean if you don’t return an accurate return of expenses the Electoral Commission can de-register you as a party and in effect disenfranchise people due to an overspend or unreported spend that would make little difference in a democratic system.

    And ironically if you prosecute you will shore up a rotten system, because in practice the rules will favour Labour and Conservative and be used to harass and ban the amateurs from making progress.

  • leeds mick

    Surely we cant let this disappear now? They’re on the ropes now and the knockout punch is all that’s required. Its not just the expenses,its the vote rigging as well. Lets keep at them.

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