Two Conservative activists have accused the party of “telling lies” over allegations it broke election laws in a number of key seats in the lead-up the 2015 General Election.
Gregg and Louise Kinsell, who campaigned for the party in several marginal constituencies, said Tory officials’ claims they had not acted illegally were untrue.
An investigation by Channel 4 has found the Conservatives transported busloads of volunteers to marginal seats to help with campaigning, but that these expenses, including travel and accommodation costs, were not registered on local spending reports.
Conservative officials have consistently denied the activists taking part in the 'Battlebus2015' campaign were helping local candidates, instead claiming they were only helping to disseminate national messages. The operation would therefore be classed as a national expense rather than a local one.
Speaking last year, then Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Lots of political parties have these bus tours - you know buses that go round different constituencies and this is a national expense.”
However, Mr and Ms Kinsell said they took part in the Battebus tours and had campaigned for local candidates in every area they visited.
“When you hear that they’re saying that we went down and we were just giving the central government message, no, no we weren’t,” Ms Kinsell told Channel 4.
“I’m not going to lie about that. No we weren’t ... They’re telling lies about what we did. We duped people on the doors. It feels like cheating and I don’t like that... We were on the bus, we know what happened. We know what we were doing, and they know what we were doing.”
She added: “They’ve cheated and formed a government that affects the whole of the country: money, education, NHS, everything and they’ve cheated. How does that make them right to form a government? It doesn’t. It doesn’t and it wouldn’t matter what party they were that stands.”
Ms Kinsell said it was obvious Battlebus activists were there to support local candidates.
“We had leaflets with their name on and rosettes with their name on… [To claim this was a national campaign] is rubbish, absolute rubbish … We were definitely canvassing for the local candidate. will absolutely swear on anything.
“In each area you were speaking about the local candidate and what he wants to do for you, not the big government in London, but what this man who lives here, what he wants to do for you, what he wants to change.”
There was a sense of “let’s cover this up” about the controversy and the nature of what actually happened on the Battlebus tour, she said.
Gregg Kinsell added: “If people are saying, and the MPs concerned in these areas are saying, it was part of a greater expense nationally for the Conservatives, that is a lie and an obvious falsehood. In that case I feel especially motivated to go to the police and go to the Electoral Commission.”
The Battlebus2015 tour saw Conservative activists transported to 29 marginal seats in the South West, the Midlands and the North of England in the days immediately before the election.
If the activists were supporting local candidates then this expense should have been declared when local parties registered their election expenses. This did not happen.
The allegations have led a number of police forces to open investigations in the seats of more than 20 current MPs.
Reports earlier in the week suggested Downing Street officials were “deeply worried” about the investigation and feared the election result in a number of seats could be declared void, thereby triggering a series of by-elections.
A Conservative spokesman said: “We are cooperating with the ongoing investigations.”