Police investigate former Lewes MP Norman Baker over election expenses

Norman Baker and Maria Caulfield on election night 2015 SUS-160615-113351001
Norman Baker and Maria Caulfield on election night 2015 SUS-160615-113351001

Police are investigating further allegations of election fraud in Lewes following a complaint surrounding the campaign expenses of former MP Norman Baker.

Sussex Police began an investigation into claims Mr Baker failed to fully declare the costs of his General Election campaign in May 2015 following an official complaint by the Conservative party last week.

The force is also investigating allegations surrounding the election expenses of Lewes MP Maria Caulfield following a complaint by the Liberal Democrats last month.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Having – on Monday, May 23 – received an allegation of potential election expenses irregularities by a Sussex MP relating to the 2015 General Election, we have now received a second, similar allegation against another Sussex politician.

“This latest allegation was made on Monday, June 6, and both are now being looked into. Following court applications both have been granted an extension of time for investigations to take place. Enquiries are at an early stage and no further information is available concerning either case.

“It is our standard policy not to identify, or to confirm the identities of, individuals who are subject of enquiries, unless or until they are charged with an offence.”

Both Ms Caulfield and Mr Baker confirmed their election expenses are being investigated by police.

Commenting on the investigation into Mr Baker’s election expenses, Ms Caulfield said: “I am encouraged to see that Sussex Police are taking these matters forward, recognising the full and complete transparency that the constituents of Lewes deserve and rightly expect.”

Mr Baker, who lost his seat to Ms Caulfield in May 2015, criticised the Conservative party’s decision to submit an official complaint.

He said: “This is a pathetic action of the most juvenile kind from the Conservative party.

“They would be better off mounting a defence of their own expenses.”

Police applied for the extension as the normal deadline for any prosecution is 12 months from the date of any offence.

The deadline for police forces to apply for extensions to election fraud investigations was June 10.

The investigations into the campaigns in Lewes are not thought to be connected to other allegations of election fraud elsewhere in the UK.

In total 17 police forces have applied for extra time to investigate allegations of election fraud in the UK.

All the MPs and political parties involved denied any wrongdoing.

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