Craig Mackinlay, the Conservative MP for South Thanet, is facing charges for illegal election spending during the 2015 general election. We speculated at the start of the campaign that the election had been timed to avoid a number of such cases coming to light.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) says there’s enough evidence to charge Mackinlay, Nathan Gray, his agent, and party organiser Marion Little. Mackinlay is still allowed to fight next week’s election.
PM Theresa May said: “The Conservative party continues to believe that these allegations are unfounded. Craig Mackinlay is innocent until proven guilty and he remains our candidate.”
In 2015, Mackinlay beat the then UKIP leader Nigel Farage by just 2800 votes.
Mackinlay faces two counts of having knowingly contravened the 1983 Representation of People Act over election expenses. He could be tried at a crown court. If found guilty the former MP could face a prison sentence.
The South Thanet constituency has a colourful past. Not only has former candidate Nigel Farage been named as a persion of interest in the Trump/Russia investigation a former MP for the constituency Jonathan Aitken was convicted of perjury in 1999 and received an 18-month prison sentence.