Questions over Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson’s election spend
Jo Swinson MP - Image credit: PA Images
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson is facing “serious questions” after thousands of pounds were omitted from her election expenses.
Swinson’s official declaration for June’s general election found that her spending was just £210 under the official limit of £14,619.
However the East Dunbartonshire MP – who reclaimed the seat she lost to the SNP in 2015 – is under pressure to explain the omission of nearly £7,000 from her final return.
The Lib Dems claimed that more than 93,000 leaflets and other material bought by the party for her campaign at a cost of £2,700 were not used so could be left out of the total.
A further £4,040 was used for national spending to promote the party rather than her individual candidacy, the party insisted.
The Herald reports that no other candidate in East Dunbartonshire split their spending on national and local lines.
A spokesman for the SNP said: “Voters will find it hard to believe so much cash could be spent on leaflets that just vanished. It was an election, not an illusion show.
“These revelations raise serious questions over the Lib Dems’ campaign in East Dunbartonshire. People have a right to know what has gone on here.
“The Lib Dems should know better. There could be serious consequences if it is found electoral rules have been flouted for political gain.”
But the Lib Dems accused the nationalists of “smarting” after the party lost 21 seats at the election.
“All Liberal Democrat candidates follow the clear guidance they are given about election spending, and our party’s compliance team are in constant dialogue with the Electoral Commission to ensure that we are abreast of the latest advice and abide by their requirements,” a spokesman said.
“All expenditure in this election was apportioned correctly and clearly identified in our election return, which is now a matter of public record.
“It’s understandable that the SNP are smarting but they should accept that they were beaten in a fair fight in seats right across Scotland, and concentrate instead on the important business of running the country.”
Candidates can face a hefty fine from the Electoral Commission or even prison should they knowingly submit a false return.