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Money can’t buy power: Corbyn to Tories

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has criticized England’s public prosecuting agency for letting the rivaling Tories get away with breaking the rules on campaign spending, saying money should not be the determining factor in an election.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced Wednesday that it was not going to press any charges against the Conservative Party over allegations that its candidates had under-declared their 2015 local and nation campaign expenditure.

Corbyn said he was “surprised” by the CPS’s decision to drop all charges.

“They have to make a judgment on it, but our election laws must be enforced and must be adhered to,” the opposition leader said on the sidelines of a Labour education conference in Leeds.

“There are strict spending limits for a reason so that money can’t buy power, only votes in the ballot box,” he added.

Back in 2015, Tory candidates were accused of passing off hotel and campaign material bills as national spending rather than local. This, in theory, could allow them to broaden campaigning activities in their constituencies without going beyond the spending caps.

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron gets off the Tory campaign bus in 2015. (Photo by AFP)

While the Conservative Party admitted that some of its candidates had indeed covered up their national spending and paid a £70,000 fine as a result, they insist the local spending declarations were accurate.

CPS Head of Special Crime Nick Vamos admitted that some of the declarations looked suspicious but there was no way to determine if they were false.

The CPS was still investigating a case reported by Kent Police. The Metropolitan Police also said that it was considering whether Simon Day, the party’s treasurer at the time, “knowingly or recklessly made a false declaration.”

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also lashed out at Tories over the spending fiasco, saying they had “stayed the right side of the law, by the letter of it” but had “driven a battle bus and horses right the way through the spirit of it.”

Conservative Party chairman Patrick McLoughlin reacted strongly to the CPS’ announcement, saying the agency was misled by “false and malicious claims” about Tory candidates online.

Corbyn is determined to dethrone Tories and incumbent British Prime Minister Theresa May in June 8 snap general elections.

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