Last week Channel 4 and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism “raised questions” over the election campaign expenses of Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, specifically the practice of claiming partial expenses on the grounds that ‘not all material was used’.
The response from Goldsmith and the Conservative Party seemed to argue that this was standard practice. “The examples raised could be seen in the returns of other candidates.” (see video above)
So I decided to obtain the expenses receipts for two of the most closely-fought campaigns in Birmingham, and put them online, with the invitation for others to take a look to see if that is indeed true.
And now the receipts for the election campaigns of Gisela Stuart (Lab) and Deirdre Allen (Con) for Edgbaston can be found at EdgbastonElectionExpenses.posterous.com
Here’s the plan:
- Take a look at the expenses – they’re all individually tagged so you can click on the tags on the right hand side to just look at Labour receipts or leaflets.
- Post a comment to say you’ve looked, and to note anything of interest, or any detail that is missing (such as a company name or claim type).
- Join the investigation to discuss and follow up on the findings
But that’s only part of the story. I want to help repeat this in other cities and towns. And it’s quite simple: start your own investigation into your own local election candidates. by following the instructions here.
Remember, finding nothing is still a finding, as it challenges Goldsmith’s story.