The CPS could play a role like the FBI’s Comey in the closing campaign stages
The veteran Labour firebrand, Dennis Skinner, raised the Tory GE2015 campaign expenses investigation in usual style at PMQs yesterday. The prime minister responded in her usual style as well and appeared to back all the MPs involved.
But we do know that the Crown Prosecution Service have said that charges are being considered against 30+ individuals and the timescale of this means that there will have to be an announcement one way or the other before election day on June 8th.
It is likely that at least half of those those cases are under consideration are election agents from the last general election meaning that the number of MPs might be 15 or possibly fewer.
This presents a tricky problem for the party. Should the MPs be re-selected with the possibility, however remote, that they might not be able to serve a full term.
Whilst it is innocent until proven guilty, being charged doesn’t infer guilt, as Hillary Clinton can testify perceptions can matter more than the facts, just look at these tweets from some opposition MPs to the sort of attacks/coverage Mrs May could expect to see.
So much could depend on the CPS timetable. If the all clear was given before the date when election nominations have to be in then it would be a lot easier for the party.
What we do know, as reported here last week, is that prior to the general election decision the Prime Minister was give details of private constituency polling by Lynton Crosby’s firm that the party had commissioned. This indicated that only four or so of the seats taken from the Lib Dems two years ago would remain Conservative if by-elections had to be held.
There was a risk that Mrs May could have lost her majority.