Police talk to Tory MP who saw off Nigel Farage (and Al Murray)

Written by David Singleton on 15 March 2017 in Diary

Craig Mackinlay was interviewed under caution about how much the Tories spent in South Thanet.

The Conservative MP who defeated Nigel Farage in the 2015 general election faced a six hour session at a local police station last Friday, it has emerged.

Craig Mackinlay was interviewed under caution as part of an ongoing police inquiry into whether the party overspent when they were up against Nigel Farage. And Al Murray.

"They really put him through the mill," a Tory source has told The Sun.

The allegations, first uncovered by Channel 4 News and the Daily Mirror,  relate to spending on campaign battlebuses and hotel bookings for activists that were wrongly recorded as national instead of local spending.

In the 2015 election, Mackinlay took 38.1 per cent of the vote, compared to 32.4 per cent for Farage.

Meanwhile, another Tory MP facing an expenses investigation, Karl McCartney, has hit out at Conservative head office over the situation.

In an email to party officials seen by Sky News, McCartney fumed: "At what stage do you think you [the party] might inform us that another media s***storm is coming?

“We didn’t create this mess, the clever dicks at CCHQ did, and I don’t see their professional reputations being trashed in the media much."

In a statement McCartney said: "The Conservative Party advised us that the so-called campaign 'battle buses' were, as at previous general elections and in keeping with the practice of both the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats, a national campaign expense. This meant that they were not to be declared in our own election expenses."

The office of Mackinlay, who was questioned on Saturday, said it would not be commenting.

There may be further news about any charges relating to Thanet South as early as next week, with 21 March marked out for a meeting between Kent Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

That raises the possibility of Nigel Farage running for Parliament for an eighth time - just as his ally Arron Banks has decided to set up his own separate movement.



Picture by: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images


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