Last week, Heat Street noted that tension is building around the police investigation into Conservative election expenses in South Thanet – the seat where Nigel Farage was kept out of Parliament in 2015 by Tory opponent Craig Mackinlay.
Sources told us that the case was headed towards a major new revelation, and chimed with further evidence being dredged up by Channel 4 News, which involves key members of staff now working in 10 Downing Street for Theresa May.
But South Thanet is merely one of dozens of seats where the 2015 election battles have attracted police interest – including one which has gone virtually unnoticed.
In Northampton South, donations to the sitting Tory MP David Mackintosh are part of a probe by Northamptonshire Police into a dodgy loan handed over by the local council.
Hidden payments totaling £30,000 to a Tory MP David Mackintosh's general election campaign are being investigated… https://t.co/MtP0cQkTZ5
— PoliticsUK (@PoliticsUK1) July 28, 2016
Mackintosh was given three separate gifts of £10,000 by people linked to 1st Land Ltd.
The company was loaned more than £10 million by Northampton Borough Council in 2013 and 2014, meant to redevelop the local football club’s stadium (pictured above).
But, according to extensive reporting by the local BBC, the money has “vanished” and most of the work was never completed.
The money was signed off while Mackintosh was head of Northampton Borough Council.
Despite the problems with the work to the football ground, the £30,000 total managed to find its way to Mackintosh’s personal political fund in April and May 2014.
Due to the specifics of 1st Land Ltd’s funding, it cannot be proved that the money made its way directly from council funds to Mackintosh, as, according to the BBC, a “fraction” of 1st Land’s cash came from elsewhere.
The case has been under police investigation for almost a year. Though officers have made little progress, an auditor’s report into the missing cash will be made public this Thursday, which may shed further light on the situation.
A statement to Heat Street from Northamptonshire said: “In order to protect the integrity of this investigation, Northamptonshire Police will not routinely comment on their ongoing activity.
“This is one element of a complex and wide-ranging investigation into numerous allegations surrounding the Northampton Borough Council loan to Northampton Town Football Club and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Earlier in the case, a spokesman for the Northmaptonshire South Conservative Association insisted all the donations were above-board.
A statement said: “The donations were received from the named donors and properly declared. This has been verified on our paperwork and declared to the Electoral Commission.”
The Electoral Commission said it could not comment on the donations because they are a matter for the police.