Prime Minister Theresa May’s top adviser has been ‘doorstepped’ by Channel 4 News’s Michael Crick as the controversy over the Conservatives’ general election expenses mounts.
The programme has led a long-running investigation into the Tory campaign to win the Kent seat of South Thanet where they were fighting to stop Ukip leader Nigel Farage winning a Commons seat in last year’s election.
Its latest report centres on the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Nick Timothy, who appears to have played a key role in the campaign, and raises further questions over whether the Tories failed to properly declared tens of thousands of pounds of hotel bills.
In the clip above, Crick confronts Timothy over a cache of documents the programme obtained revealing the adviser devised the strategy and campaigning messages that were used by the winning Tory candidate, Craig Mackinlay.
Channel 4 News says the emails contradict a previous statement issued by the Conservative Party which said Timothy “provided assistance for the Conservative Party’s national team”.
Over two minutes, Timothy maintains a steadfast silence as Crick fires a series of questions at him as he makes his way from Westminster tube station to Downing Street. His only reaction is to remove an Aston Villa scarf.
Crick labels Timothy the “brains behind the the campaign” and questions why he appeared to be pitching advice when he was still working as May’s adviser in the Home Office.
The reporter says suggestions he made to a campaign leaflet were actioned, showing he had a “big influence” on the push.
The questions surround around whether expenses incurred at the Royal Harbour Hotel should have been declared as local expenses by Mackinlay or his agent.
Under election law, expenses for the “promotion” of a candidate in a constituency must be declared locally and are subjected to tight limits.
The South Thanet seat is one of 29 currently under police investigation. The Electoral Commission is also investigating. The party maintains that it acted “entirely within the law”.