Has the SNP ever been fined for election spending mistakes?

Published: 11th May 2017

In brief

Claim

All major parties, and the Scottish National Party, have been fined for mistakes made on national election expenses.

Conclusion

Incorrect. The Conservatives, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats have all been fined by the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission told us it has never issued the Scottish National Party with any kind of fine or sanction.

“If you look at the expenses issue, we have seen all the major parties and the Scottish nationalists being fined for mistakes made on national expenses.”

Theresa May, 10 May 2017

“PM should apologise for this attempt to smear @theSNP - unlike Tories, we abide by rules and have never been fined by Electoral Commission.”

Nicola Sturgeon, 10 May 2017

The Prime Minister has reportedly said that all major political parties have been fined for mistakes on national expenses. In particular she highlighted the Scottish National Party.

But this is incorrect. The Electoral Commission told us that it has never issued the Scottish National Party with a fine or any kind of sanction.

We’ve asked the Conservative Party for more information.

Why was the Conservative Party fined?

Earlier this year the Conservative Party was fined £70,000 by the Electoral Commission, the body that oversees elections in the UK. This was for failing “to report accurately on how much it spent on campaigning at three by-elections in 2014 and at the 2015 UK Parliamentary general election”.

In addition to the Electoral Commission’s fine the issue was also investigated by the police, but on 10 May 2017  the Crown Prosecution Service announced that no charges would be brought. It said that “although there is evidence to suggest the returns may have been inaccurate, there is insufficient evidence to prove to the criminal standard that any candidate or agent was dishonest”. The commission is still considering the evidence in relation to one constituency, South Thanet, during the 2015 general election.

What about the other major parties?

The Electoral Commission also fined the Labour Party £20,000 for failing to report some spending during the 2015 election.

The Liberal Democrats were also fined £20,000 in December for a similar offence.

Details of past Electoral Commission investigations and fines are available on its website.

Update 11 May 2017

We updated the claim summary and conclusion to cover all of the parties Theresa May mentioned.


Featured

Full Fact and international partners win Google AI Impact Challenge

We aim for our factchecks to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible. If you think we've made an error or missed some relevant information, please email team@fullfact.org.

Tweet

Share