Wednesday 25 August 2021 / 10:06 AM Angela Rayner

​​Labour calls for Electoral Commission to investigate Conservative Party spending in Hartlepool by-election

​​Angela Rayner, Labour’s Deputy Leader, has written to the Electoral Commission calling on it to launch an investigation into the Conservative Party’s spending in the Hartlepool by-election.

It was revealed this week that despite the Prime Minister using his taxpayer-funded government private plane to fly to Hartlepool for a by-election campaign visit, the Conservative Party candidate’s spending returns stated “Nil” for spending on transport.

Electoral Commission guidance states that the cost of transport that is paid for or reimbursed by a political party or third party should be included in spending returns. Transport costs include the cost of transporting volunteers, party members, staff members or other campaigners around the electoral area or to and from the electoral area where they are undertaking campaigning on behalf of the candidate.

In her letter to Bob Posner, chief executive of the Electoral Commission, Rayner calls for an investigation “to get to the bottom of whether any wrongdoing has taken place, including any further dodgy deals involving Conservative Party donors secretly paying off or reimbursing the Conservative Party or the public purse and/or clearing the Prime Minister’s debts from billing the taxpayer”.

Rayner also asks that the Electoral Commission “refer to the police any evidence of illegal and criminal behaviour in breach of the Representation of the People Act, including but not limited to the non-declaration of election expenses and donations in kind, the submission of false returns and any other wrongdoing”.