Theresa May denies calling general election just to avoid Tory fraud claims

Samuel Osborne

Theresa May has denied she called a snap general election to bury an investigation into Conservative candidates' election expenses.

The Prime Minister said the election was about "the national interest."

"That is not the reason why this election has been called," Ms May told the Andrew Marr Show.

When asked if the issue was discussed before she called the election, she said: "Let's be clear in relation to the electoral commission issue, local spending was properly declared.

"The Conservative Party did make an administrative error on its national spending, as did other parties.

"We have paid our fine, I would expect other parties to do so."

Fifteen police forces have submitted files to the CPS as part of the probe into the Conservatives' 2015 general election expenses.

Allegations highlighted by Channel 4 News and the Daily Mirror relate to busloads of Tory activists sent to key seats, whose expenses were reported as part of national campaign spend rather than falling within the lower constituency limits.

Asked if Tory candidates under investigation by the CPS should be allowed to stand, Ms May said: "The CPS is an independent body which will make a decision about whether or not it takes actions on individuals."

She continued: "What I'm very clear about in this election, is that this election is about the national interest. It is about the future of our country, and that's why I say to people I want to see everybody voting."

Tory candidates have been accused of breaking strict spending limits with their battle bus scheme (PA)

The CPS said last week that Ms May's announcement of the general election for 8 June would have no impact on the timing of decisions on whether to press charges.

Each file relates to allegations concerning a candidate and an election agent and the number of people involved totals at least 30.

The CPS has now received files from the following police forces: Avon & Somerset, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon & Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Kent, Lincolnshire, Metropolitan, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, West Mercia, West Midlands, West Yorkshire.

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