“The Conservatives have responded to the Electoral Commission’s findings on their party’s election spending with a barefaced lie.
The Conservative Party response
Dozens of Tory MPs face allegations that they overspent in the 2015 general election campaign. The Conservative Party declared expenses on its national return, such as costs associated with the Tories’ Battlebus 2015. But these MPs potentially should have declared them locally. Because some of the campaigning was allegedly for local candidates.
The Electoral Commission has undertaken an investigation into the allegations. And on 16 March, it published its findings, along with a £70,000 fine for the party. In response, a Conservative Party spokesperson said “CCHQ has always taken the view that its nationally directed battlebus campaign… was part of its national return… The Electoral Commission report makes clear that our interpretation of the guidance was correct…” The spokesperson then quoted from the report to support their claim. But the report shows this statement to be demonstrably false. Or, as The Guardian put it, a very ‘selective’ conclusion.”
The Guardian Q&A: what is the Conservative election expenses row about?