The UK Conservative party has been fined £70,000 for lying about its election expenses:
The Electoral Commission has fined the Conservative Party £70,000 over campaign spending.
The independent watchdog said the party had made “numerous failures” in reporting its expenses for the 2015 general election and three by-elections in 2014.
The investigation found the party’s spending return for the 2015 general election was missing payments worth at least £104,765.
Separately, payments worth up to £118,124 were either not reported to the commission or were incorrectly reported.
In addition, the Tories did not include invoices or receipts for 81 payments worth £52,924 and failed to maintain records explaining the amounts it invoiced to candidates in three 2014 by-elections for work on their campaigns, meaning the accuracy of the sums could not be verified.
In addition, there's been a referral to police, and at least a dozen more from electorate-level investigations. The Conservative Party is looking less like a democratic party and more like a criminal conspiracy.
But while its nice to see them fined, £70,000 is nothing to them. And that's the real problem here: clearly, the sanctions in place in the UK are insufficient to discourage this kind of electoral fraud. And that will remain the case until party officials and MPs face a real prospect of ending up in jail if they try to cheat the system.