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William Wragg

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BlueGrover
Forum Moderator

BlueGrover
William Wragg
24th May 2016 at 6:46PM
Well it appears WW and his Tory cronies are to be investigated for fraud during the last election. It's alleged they used national money to boost the local campaign.
Thoughts anyone?
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thealastairw
Villager

thealastairw
Re: William Wragg
24th May 2016 at 7:20PM
Not at all surprised. Let's let justice take its course, then make him resign. Might as well have no mp rather than the invisible one we have.
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TwistedBanana
Townsperson

TwistedBanana
Re: William Wragg
25th May 2016 at 9:49AM
Seem to remember the accusations of misuse of public funds and Pork Barrelling raising their ugly heads in 2015 but then it all seemed to disappear along with many other issues under the avalanche that is the EU referendum.

If ever there was a good time to bury bad news it would be now
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OliverJohnstone
Hazel Grove Councillor

OliverJohnstone
Re: William Wragg
25th May 2016 at 5:15PM
BlueGrover - where have you heard anyone is being investigated for fraud?

I believe the police have been granted an extension to the deadline to continue their investigations.

Furthermore, Labour and Liberal Democrat submissions are also being investigated.
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Serenity
Citizen

Serenity
Re: William Wragg
26th May 2016 at 6:21AM, Edit: 26th May 2016 at 2:43PM by Serenity
Presumably this is about the ongoing investigation by 10 police forces into the alleged election fraud and the extention that they have been granted to give the police more time to further investigate the matter.

So unfortunately Oliver it is being seen as an investigation into fraud, albeit alleged fraud.

Apparently its all about the concerns raised about the conservative goverment funding back in 2015, where the party allegedly failed to locally declare the costs of bussing activists around to marginal seats – which could potentially could have swung hotly contested marginal seats.

And why under “national spending” the costs of this transportation and the cost of hotel rooms for hundreds of activists bussed in to rally this support was written off, when according to the rules this spending should have been registered as local costs.

Apparently if the candidates are found to have breached the strict election spending limits, they may face fines, imprisonment or even reruns of local contests.

And now it would seem that David Cameron is withholding key documents that would aid the police investigation.

Sorry Oliver I know it's your party but even parliment are calling for answers...Political parties are supposed to be limited in the amount of money they can spend campaigning to ensure fairness.

And just as the anti-corruption summit is about to begin, the Tories are under a criminal investigation for potential electoral fraud.

I have personally met William and found him to be open and honest as a councillor. And I am finding it very hard to believe that he would knowlingly have anything to do with any the missuse of political funding. Does the poster of this thread know otherwise or are they naming William by association. If so it seems a little unfair.

However Oliver I do find it hard to believe anything that David Cameron has to say....about anything....anytime and anywhere.....especially about Britian and the EU...of which you surely have to agree.

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BlueGrover
Forum Moderator

BlueGrover
Re: William Wragg
26th May 2016 at 8:54AM, Edit: 26th May 2016 at 9:06AM by BlueGrover
OliverJohnstone Wrote:

BlueGrover - where have you heard anyone is being investigated for fraud?

I believe the police have been granted an extension to the deadline to continue their investigations.

Furthermore, Labour and Liberal Democrat submissions are also being investigated.


" Where have you heard anyone is being investigated for fraud?" See below......

What are the allegations about Conservative party election spending?

It has been claimed that the Conservatives have misallocated spending during their 2015 general election campaign. The Electoral Commission issues clear guidelines on spending. These state that:

There are two types of spending by or on behalf of parties at elections. These are:

Party campaign spending on campaigning to promote the party and its policies generally. For example, national newspaper adverts for the party, or leaflets explaining party policy. It also includes spending on promoting candidates at elections where the party nominates a list of candidates for a region, instead of individual candidates for local areas.

Candidate spending on campaigning to promote a particular candidate or candidates in their local area. For example, leaflets or websites that focus on one or more candidates and their views.

Different rules apply to the two types of spending.

A Channel 4 News investigation claims to have uncovered receipts that show that the Conservative party spent money allocated as party campaigning, which should have been assigned as candidate spending. It states that the amounts spent in key constituencies would have, in some cases, tipped the local candidate over their spending limit.

The allegations centre in the main around the resourcing of the Conservatives’ “battle bus”, which visited seats the Tories were targeting.

The total spending Channel 4 has identified amounts to more than £38,000. It was spent across 29 constituencies, of which, it suggests, 24 constituencies would have gone over the local spending limit. Twenty-two of the constituencies were won by the Conservatives at the election.

There is an additional allegation that the Conservatives failed to declare almost £100,000 during byelection campaigns in Rochester and Strood, Clacton-on-Sea and Newark-upon-Trent during 2014.

In order to investigate these claims, the Electoral Commission has had to go to court to get the Conservatives to agree to hand over key documents. In a statement, the commission said:

If parties under investigation do not comply with our requirements for the disclosure of relevant material in reasonable time and after sufficient opportunity to do so, the commission can seek recourse through the courts. We are today asking the court to require the party to fully disclose the documents and information we regard as necessary to effectively progress our investigation into the party’s campaign spending returns.

Why are the police investigating it now?

Lincolnshire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Mercia, and Devon and Cornwall police forces have all said that they are involved in investigating the claims.

At this stage, the police have been called in because the Electoral Commission is concerned that it will not be able to obtain all the information it needs before the deadline for taking action has passed. There is a one-year limit.

What has the Conservative party said about it?

A Conservative spokesperson told Channel 4 News:

CCHQ campaigned across the country for the return of a Conservative government. Such campaigning would be part of the national return, not local return, as the Electoral Commission has said. As is apparent from our national return, the party declared expenditure related to our CCHQ-organised battle bus.

However, due to administrative error it omitted to declare the accommodation costs of those using the vehicles. This is something we have already brought to the attention of the Electoral Commission in order to amend the return.

The party always took the view that our national battle bus, a highly-publicised campaign activity, was part of the national return – and we would have no reason not to declare it as such, given that the party was some millions below the national spending threshold. Other political parties ran similar vehicles which visited different parliamentary constituencies as part of their national campaigning.

Greg Clark, the communities secretary, has said: “For elections, there are often investigations as to how things have been conducted. I have every reason to suppose that the arrangements that we had and all parties had with national battle buses, they get reported in the required way. The Electoral Commission oversee these matters, it’s right for them to make their own assessment.”

What could the consequences be?

They could be severe. It is a criminal offence to fail to declare spending by candidates and their electoral agents during a campaign. It can carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail, or there could be fines.

Why is the election expenses law important?

The law is in place to stop one political party being able to massively outspend all the others in the run-up to an election, with the aim of creating a level playing field.

In practice, the major parties are still able to spend much more than smaller parties. Election spending in the 2015 campaign was dominated by Labour and the Conservatives. The Conservatives spent £15.6m, and Labour £12.1m. The next biggest spenders were the Liberal Democrats, with £3.5m. Ukip spent £2.9m and the SNP £1.5m.

Why isn’t this a huge scandal, across the news everywhere?

It’s potentially one of the most explosive political stories of all time if the Tories were found to be guilty of deliberately fiddling election expenses to give themselves an unfair advantage in crucial marginal seats. People could go to prison. There might have to be byelections. It could turn out that David Cameron should never have had a majority government, which means we wouldn’t necessarily be having the EU referendum.

However, it is a very big if ...

People do go to prison for straight electoral fraud, when it can be proved that they have tampered with ballot papers or unduly influenced postal voters. Last year four people went to jail for voting irregularities during a 2012 poll at Maybury and Sheerwater, an area which had been causing suspicion for some time.

But election expenses being punished that severely is highly unusual.

Some social media postings have identified that as a story that the media, in particular the BBC, are not covering. It’s not entirely true. The Guardian, for example, has reported several developments in the story as more police forces got involved.

It is also a very legally sensitive story which makes it difficult to write reams and reams of speculation.

The hashtag #ToryElectionFraud makes a very general allegation, but news organisations need to tread very carefully about accusing specific Conservative MPs of having obtained their seat in parliament fraudulently. It is a very serious allegation, and if no legal action comes out of the investigations it might be one that was hard for the press to defend in court should an MP decide to sue.

Andrew Neil has pursued the story several times on his BBC shows, notably having the man who was Conservative chairman at the time, Grant Shapps, on the Daily Politics for an extended interview on the topic, the day before the May local elections.

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OliverJohnstone
Hazel Grove Councillor

OliverJohnstone
Re: William Wragg
26th May 2016 at 1:09PM
So again, this is not alleged fraud or actual fraud.

All that has happened is that claims that expenditure was not properly reported and filed have been made concerning the battlebus. The police have been granted an extension to the 1 year time frame in order to investigate the basis for these complaints and ultimately established what if any further action is required.

It's just fundamentally not true to suggest anyone is being investigated for fraud (alleged or otherwise) here. I would suggest that given this is a legally sensitive and ongoing matter, that anyone posting on this topic should stick to the facts, not speculation and misinformation.

Again I also reiterate, this is a matter being looked at with all parties, not just the Conservatives.
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Serenity
Citizen

Serenity
Re: William Wragg
26th May 2016 at 1:30PM, Edit: 26th May 2016 at 1:33PM by Serenity
OliverJohnstone Wrote:

So again, this is not alleged fraud or actual fraud.

All that has happened is that claims that expenditure was not properly reported and filed have been made concerning the battlebus. The police have been granted an extension to the 1 year time frame in order to investigate the basis for these complaints and ultimately established what if any further action is required.

It's just fundamentally not true to suggest anyone is being investigated for fraud (alleged or otherwise) here. I would suggest that given this is a legally sensitive and ongoing matter, that anyone posting on this topic should stick to the facts, not speculation and misinformation.

Again I also reiterate, this is a matter being looked at with all parties, not just the Conservatives.


I for one are saying alleged fraud because of what I have read and heard.

Taken from Prime minsters questions "Seeing as the Prime Minister is prepared to lecture other countries on corruption and probity, could he explain why seven police forces in the UK have launched criminal investigations into Conservative MPs over potential electoral fraud,” he asked at Prime Minister’s Questions"

So if the public have the wrong end of the stick then Oliver so do the politicians and the newspapers. So who should we exactly believe. In my eyes if proven it would be fraudent use of funding to help win an election. I find it hard to believe that you seem to think that it is such a lighthearted matter. Sorry Oliver totally disagree with you on this one.

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TwistedBanana
Townsperson

TwistedBanana
Re: William Wragg
26th May 2016 at 1:33PM
Some Father Ted defence coming in to play here I feel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bnh162vqk4
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OliverJohnstone
Hazel Grove Councillor

OliverJohnstone
Re: William Wragg
26th May 2016 at 1:48PM
Serenity with greatest respect, it is kind of irrelevant what the media, politicians or members of the public think is going on here. There is the truth which I have posted above and stuff that whilst makes a better story is simply not true.

The police are not investigating anyone under suspicion of committing fraud here. That is not an opinion, it is a fact. They may feel that such an investigation is warranted as consequence of what they are reviewing now but they have not made that decision yet.

I'm sorry Serenity but you really have nothing to disagree with here - you are simply wrong in your assessment of what is taking place. The police either are investigating an individual for committing fraud or they aren't - there is no room for opinion or debate on that matter.
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