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The Conservative Party on Wednesday cleared the biggest cloud hanging over its campaign for the June 8 general election when the Crown Prosecution Service announced it would not pursue any criminal charges over the party’s 2015 general election expenses scandal.

The CPS had been considering dossiers from 14 separate police forces over allegations that the Conservative Party either failed to report or misreported hundreds of thousands of pounds of spending on the previous election campaign. The Electoral Commission in March levied a £70,000 fine – its biggest ever – on the party over the scandal.

The commission said in March that the party had failed to declare at least £104,765 in election expenditure in its election return and that another £118,124 had either not been declared or had been incorrectly declared. The required invoices and receipts were missing for another £52,924 of spending.

However, Nick Vamos, the CPS ‘s head of special crime, said in a statement that the evidence did not justify charges.

We reviewed the files in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and have concluded the tests in the Code are not met and no criminal charges have been authorised.

Although there is evidence to suggest the returns may have been inaccurate, there is insufficient evidence to prove to the criminal standard that any candidate or agent was dishonest.

One police file – from Kent Police – had only recently been received and was still under consideration, however. The CPS said no inferences should be drawn as to whether or not that would result in charges.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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