Electoral Commission investigates Jeremy Corbyn-backers Momentum

Electoral Commission investigates Jeremy Corbyn-backers Momentum”

The Electoral Commission has opened an investigation into the Labour-supporting Momentum group to see if it breached finance rules in relation to spending during the 2017 election.

It said questions over compliance risked harming voter confidence.

Under the law, "non-party campaigners" who wish to undertake "targeted spending" - meant to influence people to vote for one particular registered political party or any of its candidates - have to to do so within prescribed spending limits.

The group has become notorious for trying to unseat Labour MPs who disagree with Mr Corbyn, and has recently asked the party's candidates to sign a pledge of loyalty to Momentum's aims in return for election funding.

The body wants to establish whether the group exceeded spending limits for an unauthorised non-party campaigner in the UK Parliamentary general election; whether the return it submitted about donations was accurate or complete and whether it included all invoices for payments of more than £200.

Whether Momentum submitted a return that "was not a complete statement of payments made in respect of controlled expenditure".

The Electoral Commission said that it was possible that during its probe it would identify other potential contraventions or offences under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

The Commission's briefing note set out how "non-party campaigners" are allowed to undertake "targeted spending", but only within prescribed limits.

Spending is limited to £31,980 in England, £3,540 in Scotland, £2,400 in Wales and £1,080 in Northern Ireland for the regulated period, which in this year's case stretched for 12 months before the June 8 ballot.

The note says: "Registered non-party campaigners are only entitled to spend above these limits if they have the authorisation of the political party that they are promoting". If a party gives permission, the campaign can use extra funds but that will count towards that political party's own legal spending limit.

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