Morecambe MP denies election bus expense claim breach

The MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale has denied any wrongdoing over General Election expense claims.

Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 1:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 2:26 pm
David Morris during the 2015 General Election count.

David Morris was one of 24 Conservative MPs named in a national newspaper probe into money spent on a campaign ‘Battle Bus’ during the 2015 election.

The Daily Mirror says Mr Morris and others could have broken election laws by not declaring the cost of the ‘Battle Bus’ as part of his local campaign budget.

But Mr Morris said the claim was made correctly by Conservative Campaign Headquarters.

“My election expense return for the 2015 election was completed and returned by my election agent in accordance with the law,” said Mr Morris.

“It included all items authorised by my election agent for use in my campaign.

“I signed the necessary declaration on that basis.

“I am aware that CCHQ campaigned across the UK for the return of a Conservative Government, including in seats such as mine.

“Such campaigning would be part of the national return not within our local return.”

Candidates must not exceed strict local campaign spending limits in the run-up to an election.

A breach is a criminal offence and could even lead to a demand for a by-election. Anyone found guilty of an offence could face imprisonment or a hefty fine.

Electoral Commission rules on campaign spending state that items that promote the candidate are likely to count towards the candidate’s spending limit, while items that promote the party are likely to be covered by the rules on party campaign expenditure.