The Electoral Commission has come under attack from the Conservative Party, regarding the impartiality of senior staff and suggestions that bias influenced decisions not to investigate Labour and Scottish Nationalist election spending.
Conservative Party lawyers have opened a new front in their organisation’s war on the Electoral Commission by writing a letter to the watchdog questioning the impartiality of one of its most senior staff members. The letter is understood to form part of a wider fightback after the party was criticised for failing to declare ‘BattleBus 2015’ spending correctly.
As Breitbart London previously reported, accommodation expenditure linked to the BattleBus but not recorded locally is now being investigated by the Electoral Commission and up to 19 police forces.
Now it has emerged that Louise Edwards, the Electoral Commission’s Head of Regulatory Compliance and Casework, part of their Party and Election Finance team, published negative comments online about the Tory Party saying that she couldn’t understand David Cameron’s election success. The Telegraph reports that she posted a comment on Facebook saying:
“Just can’t understand what people were thinking – do they not remember the Tories before?”
In a second message — which like the first was posted before Ms. Edwards joined the Electoral Commission — she wrote about not wanting to live under a Conservative Government.
A Conservative Member of Parliament, Charles Walker, has also written to the Electoral Commission. He has demanded it review expenditure by other parties or risk being accused of bias. Claiming that others interpreted the rules in the same way as the Conservatives, he wrote:
“If the Electoral Commission does not look at these issues, it could give the impression that the commission is not being impartial or indeed is behaving in a way that could lead to it being accused of political bias.”
It has been reported on the Guido Fawkes Blog that 17 Labour Party candidates who received their party’s ‘BattleBus’ carrying student activists may also have failed to declare that spending locally, in addition to a further 13 Labour candidates visited by Harriet Harman’s ‘Pink Bus’.
The £35,000 cost of a helicopter used by Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon to campaign for candidates in 12 target constituencies has also been questioned.
A Government spokesman has confirmed that the Electoral Commission has requested extra powers to look into election spending. The request is under consideration but would require legislation.