Craig Mackinlay, the former Tory MP and the party’s candidate in South Thanet, has been charged with election offences. The decision by the CPS – which comes less than a week ahead of the snap election – was made following an investigation by police into Conservative Party expenses during the 2015 General Election. In that election campaign, Mackinlay defeated then-Ukip leader Nigel Farage by less than 3,000 votes in South Thanet.
The CPS announced its decision moments again, saying that MacKinlay – along with two others – will face trial charged with offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983. Here’s their full statement:
“On 18 April we received a file of evidence from Kent Police concerning allegations relating to Conservative Party expenditure during the 2015 General Election campaign. We then asked for additional enquiries to be made in advance of the 11 June statutory time limit by when any charges needed to be authorised.
“Those enquiries have now been completed and we have considered the evidence in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
“We have concluded there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to authorise charges against three people.
“Craig Mackinlay, 50, Nathan Gray, 28, and Marion Little, 62, have each been charged with offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983 and are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 4 July 2017.
“Criminal proceedings have now commenced and it is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
The Conservative party have just released this statement in response to the CPS announcement:
‘We continue to believe that this remaining allegation is unfounded. Our candidate has made clear that there was no intention by him or his campaigners to engage in any inappropriate activity. We believe that they have done nothing wrong, and we are confident that this will be proven as the matter progresses.’