Conservative Craig Mackinlay charged over election expenses in 'unfounded' claim – Express.co.uk

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The 50-year-old Tory candidate for South Thanet – who stood against Nigel Farage – is accused of two counts of falsely declaring expenses.

His agent, Nathan Gray, 28, and party organiser Marion Little, 62, have also been charged with offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983.

They are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on July 4.

Mr Mackinlay is running for the South Thanet again in next Thursday’s General Election.

The Conservative Party has denounced the charges, saying they stem from “politically motivated and unfounded complaints”.

A spokesman, said: “The legal authorities have previously cleared Conservative candidates who faces numerous politically motivated and unfounded complaints over the Party’s national Battlebus campaigning.

“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.

“The individuals remain innocent unless otherwise proven guilty in a court of law.

“There is a broad consensus that election law is fragmented, confused and unclear, with two different sets of legislation, and poor guidance from the Electoral Commission.

“Conservatives are committed to strengthening electoral law to tackle the real and proven cases of corruptiong that were exposed in Tower Hamlets in 2015.” 

 

Commenting on the CPS announcement, Nigel Farage said: “Am I pleased that someone has been charged? Yes.”

Speaking on the campaign trail in Clacton, in Essex, he added: “I think that constituency will now be a straight fight between Ukip and the Labour Party, and I will be there tomorrow afternoon at 5pm giving a speech.”

Quizzed on what it means more broadly with less than a week to go until the polls open, he said: “Well once again it is bad judgment from Theresa May.

“Why on earth would you allow someone to go ahead as General Election candidate when this cloud was clearly hanging over him.

“There will be questions.”

Mr McKinley said: “I’ve done nothing wrong and I am confident that this will be made very clear as the matter progresses.”