The Scotland Office Minister, who is in charge of election conduct north of the Border, is preparing to petition the Court of Session after filing a misleading account of how much he spent on the campaign trail earlier this year.David Mundell, is expected to ask the courts permission to make retrospective changes to his official spending returns, which he previously signed off as “complete and accurate”.
However, even if successful, he still faces a possible legal sanction for breaking the spending limit in the short campaign expenses.
David Mundell MP has already referred himself to the UK election watchdog over the error.
It is understood that Conservative Party lawyers in London recommended the court action and a date has been set for later this month, although Mundell is not expected to appear in person.In 2005, Gordon Brown’s local Labour party petitioned the Court to include a rates bill for £200 in the then-Chancellor’s election expenses after the filing deadline had passed.
Under the 1983 Representation of the People Act, courts can allow candidates to amend errors in their returns caused “by inadvertence or any reasonable excuse of a like nature”, provided they were made in good faith, not calculated.
However, unlike Gordon Brown, David Mundell could still be in trouble after a petition is granted, as his mistake broke the legal spending limit.
Breaching the spending limit is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £5000.
Lib Dem Voice also carries the story.