Angry Chester Labour MP Chris Matheson has attacked the ‘gutter politics’ of the Conservatives after being cleared of breaching election expenses rules following what he calls a ‘bogus complaint’.
This followed an article by blogger Guido Fawkes which alleged up to 17 Labour candidates, including Mr Matheson, failed to declare spending on the vehicles, operated by Labour Students, used during the general election campaign.
But the constabulary, working in collaboration with the Electoral Commission, agreed no offences were committed as it did when similar allegations were lodged against the Conservative Party concerning its ‘battle bus’.
However, the Tory party nationally was fined £70,000 by the commission for failures including the way expenses were recorded in relation to the vehicle that visited marginal constituencies including Chester and Weaver Vale.
Mr Matheson, who insisted there was ‘no bus’, continued: “The Conservatives put in a bogus complaint about a nonexistent Labour ‘battle bus’. They tried to put in a complaint about me, a spurious police complaint about me when I was first selected.
“They even put in a complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards about me over a council car park pass for civic visits that many Conservative councillors themselves are also given. Every complaint against me has been investigated and has been rejected. Enough of this gutter politics.
“While they try to distract attention, I’m fighting on the real issues – jobs and prosperity in Chester and saving our schools from Conservative government cuts.”
Cheshire Police spokeswoman Rachel Hayes said: “Cheshire Constabulary working in collaboration with the Electoral Commission reviewed the information relating to both Labour and Conservative parties expenditure for the general election in 2015.
“A report by the Electoral Commission in October indicated that no offences had been committed by local Labour party representatives, owing to these findings and no further information given, the respective agents and candidates were subject of no further action.”