The Conservative MP for South Thanet who denied Nigel Farage election victory in 2015 has been cleared of falsifying election expenses.
Craig Mackinlay faced two charges of making a false election expenses declaration under the Representation of the People Act, while election aide Marion Little was charged with three counts of aiding and abetting Mackinlay and his election manager, Nathan Gray, who was acquitted on 13 December.
All three denied the charges.
Mackinlay was accused of failing to declare more than £60,000 spent on staffing, hotels and advertising, and prosecutors accused him of ignoring strict spending limits.
After 53 hours and 29 minutes of deliberation, a jury at Southwark Crown Court acquitted him of the two charges.
But Little was given a suspended sentence after being found guilty of two counts of encouraging or assisting an offence. She was cleared on the third count.
After the jury reached their verdict Mackinlay tweeted:
— Craig Mackinlay MP (@cmackinlay) January 9, 2019
"I have endured close to three years of pure hell since allegations were raised by media agencies, and Channel 4 particularly, in February 2016," Mackinlay said in a post on his website this evening.
He added: "After this trial, election law needs urgent clarification, but I have concerns whether the Electoral Commission as currently constructed is at all fit for purpose to assist in this task.'