Tory MP Craig Mackinlay appears in court to deny election spending allegations

 
Helen Cahill
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Mackinlay was charged less than a week before the General Election (Source: Getty)

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay has appeared in court today to respond to charges concerning his 2015 election expenses.

At the beginning of June, Mackinlay was charged with fraud by the Crown Prosecution Service after an investigation into his party spending in the race for the South Thanet seat.

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Two aides of Mackinlay's, Nathan Gray and Marion Little, have also been charged in the case.

The charges came just six days before the General Election, in which Mackinlay increased his majority from 2,812 to 6,387.

Today, he appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He also spoke to confirm his name, and gave his address in Ramsgate, Kent, the BBC reported.

Gray, 28, denied one count of making a false election expenses declaration. Little, 62, denied five charges. Two were linked to aiding and abetting Mackinlay and three related to Gray.

When Mackinlay was initially charged, the Conservative party defended him, saying 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."

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