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By Jason Michael
We are heading to the polls again, and while we have been told the reason for this – it doesn’t add up. Something else is going on. The shadows of election fraud from the last general election haven’t gone away, and Brexit has to be protected at all costs.
“Now is not the time!” This is – or, at least, was – Theresa May’s position on Nicola Sturgeon’s call for and the Scottish parliament’s decision on holding another independence referendum. Her explicator was simple; it makes no sense for the people of Scotland to return to the polls before they know the terms of any Brexit deal that may be negotiated. But here we are, weeks after taking this stance on Scotland she has sprung a surprise general election – before any talks have begun in Brussels – on the whole of the UK. So much for consistency!
With a mere 17 seat working government majority, it is being spun by the media – both at home and abroad – that the Prime Minister is using this snap election to capitalise on the weakness of Labour to gain for herself a stronger mandate ahead of the EU negotiations. This is the official line because it is plausible, but the timing appears to tell another story.
Thanks largely to an in-depth investigation by Channel 4 News into the Conservative Party’s expenses during the 2015 general election, enough evidence was uncovered to warrant a criminal investigation. As a result 12 police forces – Avon and Somerset, Cumbia, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, London Metropolitan, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, and West Yorkshire – launched enquiries, implicating over 30 Tory MPs. On 15 March all twelve submitted files to the Crown Prosecution Service, giving the CPS until the end of May to decide whether or not to press charges.
As it is now likely the CPS will proceed with indictments with regard to these investigations, Theresa May looks set to lose some, if not all, of those members implicated; forcing her to contest for these seats in a series of by-elections. This risks more than the sum of her already slim parliamentary majority. If she is to maintain her majority and cover her party’s backside, she had no option but to call a general election. Labour’s current omnishambles is just a happy coincidence.
Was this wholesale “alleged” fraud, we have to ask, the actions of individual Tory candidates and their local campaign teams in 2015, or was this the workings of a top level party conspiracy? What we know of events in South Thanet in Kent, the seat for which UKIP’s Nigel Farage was running, gives us the clearest picture of a conspiracy on a massive scale.
Marion Little was sent by Conservative HQ to South Thanet to act as campaign manager for Tory candidate Craig MacKinlay, and what unfolded under her control eventually led Peter Wallace – Labour’s South Thanet campaign organiser – to say:
“When you realise how much we were outgunned at the end; the ministerial visits, the battle bus, the leaflets, the message that was under the radar, the staff that was employed, the hotel rooms that were booked – it wasn’t a fair fight, and I think it’s a campaign that really needs to be investigated and looked at properly – legally – to see were election limits broken.”
Colossal amounts of money – well more than is legally allowed – was being pumped into the Tory campaign in South Thanet from the national campaign budget, and Theresa May’s all-star team was dispatched from London to work with MacKinlay. During March 2015 Theresa May, then Home Secretary, arrived in the constituency to canvass alongside characters like Nick Timothy; now chief of staff at Downing Street, Chris Brannigan; a key Number 10 aide, Henry MacRory; the party’s senior press officer, and Stephen Parkinson; May’s long-time personal advisor.
Wallace was right: this was no ordinary contest. The Tories had arrived in South Thanet to win, and to win at any cost. It could be argued that by doing this they did the UK a favour in the respect that this carry on ultimately deprived Farage of a Westminster seat, but the law is the law – and their cavalier attitude to election rules in this constituency looks to have been repeated up and down England.
The reality for May now is that if she delays in holding this general election she may find herself out of government, leaving the entire Brexit programme up in a heap and in the hands of other people. The people behind the scenes – and there most certainly are people behind the scenes of Brexit – who are pulling the strings do not want May and the Tories out of government until they have gotten what they want. Here the safest bet is that the Prime Minister has been told she is taking this god-awful mess back to the people before Labour gets its act together.