The 2015 UK General Election Expenses Investigation #ToryElectionFraud

The Pictures

You may have heard of the "Battlebus"- a major plank in the Tory 2015 General Election strategy whereby large numbers of volunteers, their organisers and party superstars were parachuted into target constituencies with the aim of out-campaigning the opposition.

Despite its name this strategy didn't just involve buses and was better known within the party as Road Trip 2015 and occassionaly Tube Trip 2015. It has since morphed into Road Trip 2020 - @RoadTrip2020 - which is the source of much of this material.

When Channel 4 highlighted irregularities with the Conservative's 2015 GE Expenses return, much of which focused on the battle bus campaign, the Tories were quick to respond and admitted that they'd failed to declare around £38,000 of expenses due to an administrative error which had neglected to record the accommodation costs incurred by the Battlebus campaign.

Now this is the important bit - "The Tories insisted the Battlebus operation was part of the national campaign organised by Conservative Campaign HQ and, as such, the expenditure did not form part of the spending by individual candidates." - source because, in almost all cases, if it had been costed as a local expense then the local candidate would have exceeded their spending limit and broken the law. It's a serious crime - "Any candidate found guilty of an election offence could face up to one year in prison, and being barred from office for three years." - source

According to the Electoral Commission "There are two types of spending... Candidate spending... is when a candidate authorises campaigning to promote them at an election... Party campaign spending is... to promote the party and its policies generally... rather than individual candidates for local areas."

So the Conservative Party claims the Battlebus operation was part of the national campaign and therefore promoted the party and its policies generally and NOT individual candidates for local areas.

Now pick something, a tweet, an instagram and you decide whether it shows local or national campaigning.

Tweets
07/05/15Great day out in Thanet South campaigning with #Battlebus2015 for @cmackinlay
07/05/15London #battlebus2015 has been getting out the vote for @tania_mathias this morning. #VoteConservative #onthebus
06/05/15#Battlebus2015 joined by @nadhimzahawi has been supporting @mikejwood in Dudley South this morning #Conservative
06/05/15#BattleBus2015 #day5 in #Cheadle with Mary Robinson pushing for a #ConservativeMajority #VoteConservative @Team2015
06/05/15What a fantastic @team2015 on the battle bus straight out talking to voters across the constituency. @ToryChairman
05/05/15Home Secretary joins Midlands #Battlebus2015 for the second time, this time in Erewash to campaign for @mthroup
05/05/15Tory #Battlebus2015 out in #WeaverVale helping the local champion @GrahamEvans #FiveMoreYears
05/05/15Labour thought if they take down our signs, we'll go away - they had no idea how persistent Tories are #Battlebus2015
05/05/15#Battlebus2015 is in Morecambe& Lunesdale supporting the brilliant @DavidMorris2015 & with @Jeremy_Hunt @RoadTrip2015
05/05/15Great response on the doorsteps for hardworking @GrahamEvans today with #Battlebus2015 II @Team2015 @RoadTrip2015
05/05/15Great to be out with a huge team from @LondonCF,@Team2015 & @CroydonTories with Boris to help re-elect @BackBarwell
05/05/15"@nickphking: Good to see @BorisJohnson in #Chiswick supporting @MaryMacleod2015 with @Team2015 volunteers"
05/05/15In Morecambe pushing for a #ConservativeMajority with @Jeremy_Hunt #BattleBus2015 #VoteConservative @Team2015
05/05/15'In this world that we live there shld b more happiness' #Battlebus2015 @RoadTrip2015 @Conservatives @DavidMorris2015
04/05/15The backdrop is a little slice of Lancashire! @RoadTrip2015 #BattleBus2015 @KulveerRanger @ROSSENDALEFORME
04/05/15It may be a bank holiday, but Midlands #battlebus2015 is out in force in Lincoln for great candidate @karlmccartney
04/05/15Brilliant day campaigning in Bury today - 3 days to go #battlebus2015
04/05/15The Midlands #Battlebus2015 team supporting @karlmccartney outside @LincsCathedral today #VoteConservative
04/05/15A huge #Team2015 turnout today to support @simonkirby4mp the @Conservatives candidate in #Brighton #VoteConservative
04/05/15PHOTO: Great support for @simonkirby4mp today, campaigning for more jobs and investment in Brighton
04/05/15.@RoadTrip2015 @gregsmithsw6 @EmmaPidding @kellysmithuk 'Happy Days' was feeling nostalgic for The Fonz...
04/05/15Fantastic day today with the #conservative #battlebus2015 in #Ramsbottom supporting @DavidNuttallMP #GE2015
04/05/15Thanks to everyone who came to #Ramsbottom on the #battlebus2015 campaigning for @DavidNuttallMP #BuryNorth
04/05/15Great support on doorsteps for @DavidNuttallMP Fantastic turnout @Team2015 @RoadTrip2015 #Battlebus2015 in Bury
04/05/15#TeamTory at DCT to help reelect our hardworking MP @DavidMundellDCT.
04/05/15Great morning campaigning with @RoadTrip2015 for @DerekThomas2015 in St Ives #battlebus2015 @Conservatives #GeneralElection2015
03/05/15Great day so far helping the wonderful @olivercolvile in #Plymouth!
03/05/15The Pudsey #Battlebus2015 campaign ended with huge support for @StuartAndrew and the #conservative cause
03/05/15PHOTO: #Battlebus2015 teams out campaigning in force today, from Carlisle to Hastings!
03/05/15Top day of campaigning in Carlisle for @John4Carlisle with #Battlebus2015 & the great @RoryStewartUK @Conservatives
03/05/15Excellent response for @StuartAndrew on doorsteps of Pudsey today with #Battlebus2015 @Team2015 @RoadTrip2015
03/05/15Big team out to campaign for @paulupalwsw from #battlebus2015 & #team2015 with @NickBolesMP & Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
03/05/15Great turnout for #battlebus2015 today: top effort from @MrMarkClarke @indiabrummitt @ellie_vt @deborahfeld & more
02/05/155 days to go & our #Battlebus2015 is in Halifax with grt local candidate Philip Allott @Conservatives @RoadTrip2015
02/05/15Midlands #battlebus2015 is in Amber Valley today - with a big team campaigning for @VoteNigelMills #VoteConservative
02/05/15Brilliant turn out for great local candidate @stroud_neil with Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and our #Battlebus2015 team.
02/05/15THANK YOU to #Team2015 members for your amazing backing this weekend. With your help, we'll secure a brighter future.
02/05/15“@Team2015 Huge numbers. #Battlebus2015 Join them at http://team2015.co.uk ” Huge your arse ! #GE2015
02/05/15And yet another great @Team2015 #Battlebus2015 campaigning in Stroud for @stroud_neil today...
02/05/15One of our @Team2015 #Battlebus2015 arriving in Amber Valley supporting @VoteNigelMills today - #VoteConservative
02/05/15PHOTO: #Battlebus2015 having a brilliant day out. Huge numbers. Join them at http://team2015.co.uk
02/05/15Conservatives Use SNP Deal Rumours To Cane Miliband - Breitbart http://bit.ly/1E4dLy6 #BattleBus2015 #GE2015 #GE15
02/05/15Great to be in Nuneaton @Team2015 #Battlebus2015 campaigning for Marcus Jones yesterday @TorySocial @ToryChairman
02/05/15Great to be speaking to voters in Ripley on behalf of @VoteNigelMills today! #Team2015 #VoteConservative
01/05/15Great Midlands #Battlebus2015 morning campaigning in Nuneaton for @Marcus4Nuneaton with @AlanDuncanMP @ChrisPincher
01/05/15Fantastic @Team2015 #Battlebus2015 turnout in Nuneaton for hardworking local campaigner @Marcus4Nuneaton
30/04/15Fantastic to have the Home Secretary join Midlands #Battlebus2015 in Broxtowe today campaigning for @Anna_Soubry
30/04/15Thank u @TeamBroxtowe15 #Team2015 @Conservatives topped by @David_Cameron outstanding on QT
29/04/15Incredible number of activists join @grantshapps & #battlebus2015 in Sherwood today for @Mark_Spencer @ToryChairman
28/04/15Superb day for @Michael_Ellis1 with @ToryChairman @grantshapps, Lord Feldman & Chris Grayling with #Battlebus2015
28/04/15The sun is shining and #Battlebus2015 is out and about in Northampton North with @Michael_Ellis1 @EmmaPidding
28/04/15Delighted to be joined by @RoryStewartUK to help @AlexChalkChelt and the #Battlebus2015 team!
28/04/15Another cracking speech this afternoon from @AlexChalkChelt, thanking all #Battlebus2015 activists! #chalk4cheltenham
28/04/15Can you tell who #Battlebus2015 South West is with today?! #chalk4cheltenham
27/04/15#battlebus2015 in Cannock today to support @amandamilling with Patrick McLoughlin @EmmaPidding @BatesLord @S_Hammond
27/04/15Great to be in Cannock with @Amandamilling and team telling everyone why they should #voteConservative
27/04/15Great to have Patrick McLoughlin supporting @amandamilling in Cannock Chase today
13/04/15Great to see @cwowomen Chairman @NikiMolnar and @ConsFuture Chairman @alexHpaterson supporting #Battlebus2015.
11/04/15@GlasgowTories on route to help David Mundell in the borders #ToriesOnTour
11/04/15The team on tour with @DavidMundellDCT helping our hardworking MP in Dumfriesshire. #TeamTory
07/02/15THANK YOU to the Team2015 volunteers working to secure a better future this weekend. Sign up: https://www.conservatives.com/team2015

Instagrams
06/05/15rjo_co Probably my favourite day of #battlebus2015 in #Lincoln (partly because I'm visible in the photo) Photo credit to @indiabinley
05/05/15boygogne Dagens kampanj kan sammanfattas så här. Grym dag med skiftat väder. Men underbart folk och härlig bild framför #Battlebus2015 #fmsfUK #team2015
06/03/15roadtrip2020 #Wales #Gower #ByronDavies #team #campaigners #volunteers #teamwork #campaigning #beach #seaside #sunshine
06/03/15roadtrip2020 #Wales #BreconRadnorshire #ChrisDavies #teamwork #campaigning #volunteers #team #campaigners #sunshine
06/03/15roadtrip2020 #Harlow #Halfon #volunteers #team #campaigners #teamwork #campaigning #fivemoreyears
03/03/15roadtrip2020 #Chippenham #Donelan #team #volunteers #teamwork #campaigning #teabreak #campaigners
02/03/15roadtrip2020 #Rochester #Tolhurst #Hunt #byelection #team #teamwork #friends #volunteers #fun #campaigning #campaigners
26/02/15roadtrip2020 #Clacton #Watling #teamwork #team #campaigners #rain #drenched #umbrellas #fun #byelection
24/02/15roadtrip2020 #Brighton #Kirby #team #teamwork #summer #sunshine
12/02/15roadtrip2020 #Chester #cheadle #campaigning #teamwork