Calder Valley constituents have been trying to find out about progress with the West Yorkshire Police criminal investigation into an allegation of financial irregularity on the part of Calderdale Conservatives Association. The investigation, which related to Craig Whittaker’s 2015 General Election expenses, was launched a year ago in May 2016.
Contacted by Upper Calder Valley Plain Speaker , Detective Chief Inspector Chris Gibson of Calderdale Police said:
“West Yorkshire Police received an allegation of financial irregularity in May 2016. Following a detailed and thorough investigation it has been found that no offences have been committed.”
This means that the Crown Prosecution Service will not be considering bringing criminal charges of electoral fraud and false spending returns against individuals in the Calderdale Conservative Party.
The Crown Prosecution Service are currently deciding whether to prosecute on the basis of findings from police investigations that police have handed them. As West Yorkshire Police decided there was no criminal activity by Whittaker’s lot they will not have handed anything to CPS to decide whether to prosecute on the basis of.
That is the division of labour – police investigate, CPS decides whether to prosecute ie: do the findings of the police investigations warrant prosecutions?
Speculation has been rife that Theresa May called the snap General Election because the Crown Prosecution Service is now considering bringing criminal charges of electoral fraud and false spending returns against around 30 individuals in the Conservative party. Many of them are currently MPs, many of them will be candidates in this election, and many of them could be re-elected.
A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed to the Independent last week that charges would have to be made before the general election on 8 June. However, due to election rules the Crown Prosecution Service may be unable to make a public announcement about any formal charges. The public may therefore end up being none the wiser if their prospective MP has been charged.
This is why Upper Calder Valley Plain Speaker decided to find out whether Craig Whittaker or members of Calder Valley Conservation Association were likely to be charged.
We did this in response to questions from a member of the public, who has recently sent Freedom Of Information requests to West Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
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