Five more MPs dragged into elections spending row

By Ian Dunt

Five more MPs have had their election campaign spending thrown in the spotlight following the decision of the Electoral Commission to put Zac Goldsmith’s spending under review.

Channel 4 and the newly-formed Bureau of Investigative Journalism have highlighted problems in the expenses of Conservatives Ben Gummer, Gavin Barwell, Dan Byles, Labour’s Phil Woolas and Lib Dem Sarah Teather.

Mr Gummer is accused of failing to pay for T-shirts and staff but insists neither were used during the regulated period, despite both being paid for prior to the election.

Mr Barwell has admitted leaving out two items from his election returns, although their inclusion would still not have taken him over the spending limit.

Mr Byles is accused of having charged some of his advertising campaign to a future election.

Mr Woolas is accused of not declaring leaflets which were printed but not delivered, but insists the rules state that only materials which are used must be declared.

Ms Teather is accused of submitting inconsistent returns, although these are not thought to have been severe enough to have gone over the spending limit.

The Electoral Commission will now assess the cases to see if they are worth putting under review.