Tory Candidate Charged in U.K. Over 2015 Election Expenses

  • Craig Mackinlay defeated Nigel Farage in 2015 election
  • U.K. prosecutors charge three over party-funding allegations

U.K. prosecutors charged three people including a Conservative Party parliament candidate in a probe into alleged overspending during the 2015 general election.

Craig Mackinlay was charged along with Nathan Gray, 28, and Marion Little, 62, the Crown Prosecution Service said Friday.

The 50-year-old won the South Thanet seat in Kent over Nigel Farage in the 2015 vote by 2,800 votes. He’s the party’s candidate in the June 8 election standing against Stuart Piper of the United Kingdom Independence Party and Raushan Ara of Labour.

Mackinlay said on his Facebook page that he had done “nothing wrong” and was confident he’d be acquitted, while Prime Minister Theresa May voiced her support in a BBC television interview.

“Craig Mackinlay is innocent until proven guilty and he remains our candidate,” May said. The Conservative Party cited "numerous politically motivated and unfounded complaints" about its expenditure in a separate statement.

“We continue to believe that this remaining allegation is unfounded. Our candidate has made clear that there was no intention by him or his campaigners to engage in any inappropriate activity," a Tory spokesman said. "We believe that they have done nothing wrong, and we are confident that this will be proven as the matter progresses."

The trio are scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court July 4 to face offenses under the Representation of the People Act 1983, the CPS said. The Kent police said the charges end their investigation into the Conservatives’ spending in the South Thanet constituency.

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