MPs caught up in the Tory election fraud case will find out if they face criminal charges just weeks before the general election.
Police have handed files on more than a dozen Conservative MPs to prosecutors after irregularities over election spending during 2015’s vote.
14 different forces were involved in the investigation into allegations some Tory candidates broke strict electoral spending limits.
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If they believe there’s a case to answer, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in England will make the first prosecutions on May 20.
A source at the service told BuzzFeed News that the decisions could not be delayed until after the vote. “The deadlines are the deadlines,” the source said.
Spending on local campaigning is capped at between £11,000 and £16,000. During the last election, young Tory activists were bussed into key constituencies to help knock on doors, hand out leaflets and take part in events.
In many cases the party classed that spending as national rather than local campaigning. If it had been classed locally rather than nationally then it would have taken a number of constituencies over the limit.
Conservative party head office was fined £70,000 by the Electoral Commission last month for its failure to declare spending.
Andrew McGill, spokesman for the CPS, said: “The position hasn’t changed for us. We’ve received files from 14 different police forces in relation to Conservative party spending for the 2015 General Election. There are charging decisions to be made.”
If any MPs are convicted they would be barred from serving in elected office for between three and five years and a by-election would be triggered.
Only two Conservative MPs have confirmed that their election expenses files are among those passed to the CPS for a charging decision: Karl McCartney and William Wragg.
Both have said they will be standing for re-election.
They deny any wrong-doing.