As the CPS charge Tory candidate Craig Mackinlay, Theresa May’s poor judgment is yet again illustrated
Yesterday, in spite of Craig Mackinlay, the Conservative candidate for South Thanet, being charged with offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983, Theresa May strangely leapt to his defence.
Mackinlay, a businessman, Tory MP for the constituency from 2015 and leader of the deputy leader of UKIP from 1997 to 2000, defeated then UKIP leader Nigel Farage at the last election by 2,812 votes. Allegations relating to his election spending returns that campaign are cause of his current woes and if convicted, the one-time Conservative Member of Parliament could face up to a year in jail for corruption.
In a statement, issued on his Facebook page on Friday, Mackinlay remarked:
My candidature in South Thanet is entirely unaffected and my campaign continues as before. I will not let this decision affect the hard work I do for my constituents and the hard work I hope to do for them after 8th June.
Our justice system is underpinned by the presumption of innocence and I am confident that I will be acquitted as I have done nothing wrong and acted honestly and properly whilst a candidate in 2015, and as all candidates do, acted upon advice throughout.
Clearly this is a shocking decision by the CPS, given that I’ve done nothing wrong and I am confident that this will be made very clear as the matter progresses.
I am very disappointed with the way this has been handled by the CPS and Kent Police, and I must question the timing of this decision given that Kent Police confirmed on 18th April that their file had been sent to the CPS to review and make their decision: why leave this until a few days before the election?
In response, Nigel Farage – a man, if Mackinlay is indeed convicted, plainly robbed in 2015 – commented:
Once again, it is bad judgment from Theresa May. Why on earth would you allow someone to go ahead as General Election candidate when this cloud was clearly hanging over him?
I’m pleased that somebody’s been charged. My only regret is that there aren’t quite a lot more of them. I personally believe that the law was being broken wholesale in by-elections and in the general election.
What does it mean? Well, effectively what it means in that constituency is that, whilst his name will stay on the ballot paper, I think the chances of people voting for him are now very slim.
So, I think that constituency will be a straight fight, now, between UKIP and the Labour Party, and I will be there [on Saturday] afternoon giving a speech at 5 o’clock to support our candidate.
Illustrating her dumbfounded loyalty, Theresa May, however, added:
The Conservative Party continues to believe that these allegations are unfounded. Craig Mackinlay is innocent until proven guilty and he remains our candidate.
Shame on Mrs May: She should have, whether innocent or guilty, put a stop to Craig Mackinlay again running for election months ago.