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Carlisle Conservative candidate 'not surprised' by expenses decision

John Stevenson Credit: ITV Border

Conservative candidate for Carlisle, John Stevenson, says he's not surprised that no charges will be brought over campaign expenses.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it had examined files from 14 police forces, including Cumbria, into Conservative Party spending during the 2015 election.

In a statement they reported that while there was evidence of inaccurate spending returns, it did not "meet the test" for further action.

"We have considered files of evidence from 14 police forces in respect of allegations relating to Conservative Party candidates' expenditure during the 2015 General Election campaign.

"We considered whether candidates and election agents working in constituencies that were visited by the Party's 'Battle Bus' may have committed a criminal offence by not declaring related expenditure on their local returns. Instead, as the Electoral Commission found in its report, these costs were recorded as national expenditure by the Party.

"We reviewed the files in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and have concluded the tests in the Code are not met and no criminal charges have been authorised.

– Nick Vamos, CPS Head of Special Crime

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Cumbria Police 'have interviewed' Conservatives

Cumbria Police Credit: ITV Border

Cumbria Police have confirmed they have interviewed people connected to the Conservatives, in relation to the party's spending in the 2015 general election.

Cumbria Constabulary can confirm that they have submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to party election expenses.

Police have interviewed those connected with the party in question and are waiting the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision.

– Cumbria Constabulary spokesperson

The force is one of 12 to have submitted files to the Crown Prosecution Service.

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Mundell calls for threat of second independence vote to be taken off the table

The Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, has called on Nicola Sturgeon to take the threat of a second independence referendum off the table.

Addressing the Scottish Conservative party conference in Glasgow, the MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, said another vote would be damaging for Scotland and the idea filled him with "utter dismay."

He also insisted more powers will be transferred to Scotland after the UK leaves the EU. Mr Mundell said he still wants to work with the SNP government to get the best deal for Scotland and the UK after Brexit. But he called on Nicola Sturgeon to rule out another independence referendum.

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Lamont: Budget will 'reward hard working families'

John Lamont MSP. Credit: ITV Border

Conservative MSP John Lamont has welcomed the first Tory-only Budget for nearly 20 years.

He says it'll "reward hard working families in the Borders", and stabilise the UK economy:

I was delighted to hear the measures announced by the Chancellor in his budget. By taking those on the lowest pay out of income tax altogether and introducing a new National Living Wage of £9, the UK Government is rewarding work and allowing those on the lowest incomes to keep more of what they earn.

At a time when household budgets are stretched I know that this will come as real help to many households in the Borders.

The Chancellor has had to take some tough decisions over welfare spending, but these measures will ensure that the UK will finally be doing the responsible thing and raising more money than it spends by 2019.

I’m also pleased with new measures such as the further freeze on fuel duty and the planned reduction in corporation tax, which will both be good for jobs in the Borders."

– John Lamont MSP

And the MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire has also taken the opportunity to attack the SNP-dominated Scottish government:

Like their plans for Full Fiscal Autonomy, the Scottish Government’s attacks on this budget are just not credible.

The Chancellor is taking the tough decisions needed to bring the deficit down and secure the economic future of the UK.

Soon, the SNP is going to have to demonstrate how it will use new fiscal powers and show that it too can make the difficult choices needed to manage tax and spending.”

– John Lamont MSP
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