Craig Mackinlay ‘questioned by police for six hours’ during probe into South Thanet election spending

PUBLISHED: 08:31 15 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:10 15 March 2017

Craig Mackinlay is announced as the winner at the Thanet South count at the Winter Gardens, Margate, Kent, 8th May 2015.

Craig Mackinlay is announced as the winner at the Thanet South count at the Winter Gardens, Margate, Kent, 8th May 2015.

Ady Kerry

Kent Police has refused to confirm the reports and the MP has declined to comment

Craig Mackinlay was questioned for six hours under caution last week over his expenses in campaigning for the South Thanet seat in the 2015 General Election, reports claim.

The Conservatives are facing an Electoral Commission probe and police inquiries over allegations that election spending was not properly recorded on buses transporting activists to campaign in key marginal seats.

The allegations centre on whether the “battle bus” tour should have been recorded as counting towards individual candidates’ spending limits, rather than as part of the larger national spending return.

Kent Police has refused to confirm reports that Mr Mackinlay was quizzed by officers over the battle for the seat, in which he beat former Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Prime minister Theresa May’s chief of staff Nick Timothy was drawn into the controversy over South Thanet after Channel 4 News said it had seen emails which suggest he played a central role in the battle to keep Mr Farage out of parliament.

Responding to inquiries about the Sun’s report that Mr Mackinlay had been subject to questioning last week, Kent Police said in a statement: “The Kent Police investigation into this complex matter is ongoing and officers continue to follow lines of inquiry.

“Therefore it would not be appropriate to comment further.

“Officers from Kent Police continue to work with the Electoral Commission as the investigation continues.”

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “We are co-operating with the ongoing investigations.”

Mr Mackinlay, and his office, declined to comment when contacted by Kent News this morning.

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