Referendum campaign group could face investigation

Referendum campaign group could face investigation

The Electoral Commission is in discussions with prosecutors over a potential breach in electoral campaigning law by the Better Together campaign group.

The pro-Union organisation, which was forged as an alliance between Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats, failed to submit all of the necessary information about its spending during the independence referendum regulated campaign period.

The regulated period began on 30 May 2014 and ended with the referendum on 18 September 2014.

With submitting returns showing expenditure at £1.4 million - short of the statutory £1.5 million limit - Better Together spent more than any other single organisation during the regulated period.

A statement from the Electoral Commission says: “Registered referendum campaigners were required to submit to the Commission invoices over £200. The submitted return of the registered campaigner Better Together is missing some information making the return incomplete.

“For such matters relating to the Scottish Independence Referendum the Commission liaises with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in Scotland.

“We are consulting with the COPFS in order for them to consider whether they will open an investigation into this matter.”

A spokesman for the Crown Office told The Herald that they would “consider any report when submitted, and continue to consult with our colleagues in the Electoral Commission”.

The Crown Office is also reviewing whether to investigate a registered pro-independence campaign called Wings Over Scotland for failing to submit spending returns.

A decision has already been taken not to open a criminal investigation into the Labour for Independence campaign because of missing records, but the Electoral Commission is making its own investigation.

Share icon
Share this article: