Thursday, 28 April 2016

NEWS RELEASE FROM NORTHUMBERLAND LABOUR


WHY WAS UKIP IN BLYTH VALLEY ALLOWED TO SUBMIT GENERAL ELECTION EXPENSES 11 MONTHS LATE?

Labour raise serious questions over legality of late election expenses by UKIP in General Election 2015 and over failure to declare properly £80,000 purchase of campaign HQ and campaign van.

 

Labour in Northumberland have urged a ‘cross agency’ investigation after it emerged that a UKIP candidate failed to properly declare election expenses for last year’s General Election in Blyth Valley.

UKIP candidate Barry Elliott failed to declare his election expenses for the general election within the timescale set out by law and in the same format as every other candidate prompting complaints from at least 3 members of the public. They complained that they were unable to view Mr Elliott’s election expenses which is legally required under election law.

It emerged that Mr Elliott who is also a UKIP Cllr for Blyth Town Council and a local property developer and entrepreneur had purchased a shop during the election period which he launched in the local media as his ‘Campaign HQ’ for the General Election for £80,000 yet candidates in the General Election were only allowed to spend close to £60,000 and they say he’s seeking to hide the true impact of this purchase on his election expenses.
They also say he purchased a van which was painted in UKIP colours and used as a campaigning platform yet he hasn’t declared the expenditure at all in the election expenses submitted 11 months after other candidates.

Election law says candidates and their agents should submit expenses within 30 days of the close of the poll and they should be made available for public scrutiny within 10 days of receipt.  This didn’t happen with Cllr Elliott’s expenses unlike every other candidate in Blyth Valley constituency and Labour are now demanding answers over why it has taken the council as returning officer, the Electoral Commission as the body that oversees the conduct of elections and Northumbria Police who should have been called in to investigate the apparent breaches of law, 11 months to ‘force Cllr Elliott to comply with the law’.
They say that election offences have a 12 month ‘window’ for potential prosecutions and the questions raised about the failure to comply with election law, failure to properly declare the purchase of the election campaign HQ on Bridge Street in Blyth and the use of the UKIP van as an election expense ‘must be investigated as a matter of utmost urgency if the public are to have confidence that elections are being conducted fairly and impartially.

 

 

A Northumberland Labour spokesperson said

“Cllr Elliott only submitted his election expenses 11 months late and on or about 1 April so we thought this was an April fool prank. Why should he be subject to different rules to every other candidate and we’re demanding a ‘cross party agency transparent investigation into why Cllr Elliott and UKIP have been allowed to flout the law. UKIP must answer questions about what is contained in the election expenses or not contained in the case of his ‘campaign van’. We think he’s spent more than every other candidate to the tune of thousands of pounds and he may have spent more than the agreed amount for the constituency.
The agencies such as the County Council who are responsible for publication of election expenses, the Electoral Commission who are responsible for any potential breaches and Northumbria Police who are responsible for any criminal investigations and prosecutions over breaches of election law should act quickly before the next set of elections to maintain public confidence that every candidate is playing fairly by the same rules.
In this case Cllr Elliott and UKIP need to cooperate fully and transparently and publicly answer the questions over their collusion in breaking election law. Nothing less will be acceptable”.

“Cllr Elliott is quick to allege law breaking across Northumberland yet we have a prima facie case where he’s fallen 11 months short and spent money in the election which isn’t properly accounted for. He must come clean and cooperate with the cross agency investigation in the most transparent way”.  

 

Notes for Editors – Published in News Post Leader and Journal

Northumberland County Council

 Parliamentary Election 2015

 Blyth Valley Constituency

 Thursday 7 May 2015

I, the undersigned, (Acting) Returning Officer for the above constituency, hereby give notice that I have received a spending return from the following candidate:

Barry Elliott

The return was not submitted within the statutory deadline for returns to be made but has since been submitted to my satisfaction.

A notice to this effect should have been, but was not published within 10days of my receiving the return. A determination period has been in effect whilst the validity of the return was established. This notice is published within 10days of the date on which the return was determined valid.

This return and its associated declaration, along with all others received, can be inspected at: County Hall, Morpeth, by contacting the Elections Office on 01670

 624811 during office hours (9am – 5pm Monday to Friday) within two years of the date of the Parliamentary Election above.

Geoff Paul (Acting) Returning Officer, County Hall,

 Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF

 

 

 

Published in the News Post Leader

 Thursday April 14, 2016

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