Craig Mackinlay charged over 2015 election expenses

 
Helen Cahill
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Conservative candidate Craig Mackinlay has been charged following an investigation into his party spending during the 2015 General Election, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said today.

Mackinlay, the Tory candidate for South Thanet, will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 4 July.

In 2015, Mackinlay beat Nigel Farage in the race for South Thanet.

Read more: Electoral Commission to investigate Tory party spending

Two aides of Mackinlay's, Nathan Gray, 28, and Marion Little, 62, have also been charged in the case. The charges related to offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Nick Vamos, the CPS' head of special crime, said: "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."

In a statement, the Conservative party said it believes the allegation is "unfounded".

"Our candidate has made clear that there was no intention by him or his campaigners to engage in any inappropriate activity," a Conservative spokesperson said.

"We believe that they have done nothing wrong, and we are confident that this will be proven as the matter progresses."