Scottish Lib Dems fined over election returns

The Electoral Commission has fined the party for "failure to deliver accurate spending return for 2016 Scottish Parliament election".


The Scottish Liberal Democrats have been fined for failing to properly declare the national party's spending during the 2016 race in the marginal Edinburgh Western constituency.

The Commission found that the party had failed to identify individual spending in the seat, “as required by the law”. Alex Cole-Hamilton won the seat by 2960 votes, spending £32,549 on his campaign, while the rival SNP candidate spent just £18,593.

Bob Posner, Director of Political Finance and Regulation & Legal Counsel at the Electoral Commission, said: “Political parties and campaigners must provide accurate and transparent spending returns so that they can be scrutinised by voters."

“In this case, the party aggregated some payments rather than declaring each payment individually as required by the law."

“As a result it was not possible to identify some of them, resulting in less transparency.”

The party had previously denied any wrongdoing, with Vince Cable describing the allegations as "mischief".

A Scottish LibDem spokesperson said: “This is a small penalty for a technical fault on the declaration of our election returns.

All funds were accounted for but they should have been disaggregated.”

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