Channel 4 News on Monday reported that during three by-elections in 2014 the Conservatives had considerably exceeded the legal limit in spending. People like Donald Trump can spend his millions on each primary as the USA has no limits unlike Britain with its £100,000 by-election maximum. During the programme, Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader who lost in the general election also with questionable Conservative expenses, was interviewed and railed at the duplicity of the Government and the possible unfairness of his result but when asked if he was formerly complaining to the police he prevaricated and eventually said no. Later in the same programme, UKIP’s only MP, Douglas Carswel,l also refused to raise this matter in parliament. Surprising?
At the moment the Government is introducing legislation restricting payments to the funds of political parties which will particularly affect Labour rather than the Conservatives. A loss of £6 million is suggested. With the government having scored an own goal on its political spending one would have expected a head-on attack by Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn at PM’s Questions on Wednesday. He did not raise a single query over this with David Cameron and neither did any other MP during the 30 minutes allowed.
Why this silence? Can we be at the start of another scandal this time over election expenses but not unlike that over MPs expenses back in 2009? That involved all parties in both Houses of Parliament with their snouts in the trough, hence the all-party silence and their concerted attempts to halt disclosures. As the detail was uncovered many MP’s had to stand down - five of them and two Lords were imprisoned. Parliament’s reputation stank and to many a whiff still lingers. Shades of things to come?
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