Jury selected for Tory MP’s election spending trial

A jury panel has been selected for the trial of a Tory MP over his 2015 general election expenses.

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, 52, is standing trial with his election manager Nathan Gray, 28, and party activist Marion Little, 62, at Southwark Crown Court.

They are charged with offences relating to Conservative Party expenditure during the 2015 election campaign.

Mackinlay, from Ramsgate, Kent, faces two charges of making a false election expenses declaration under the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Nathan Gray
Nathan Gray

Gray, of Hawkhurst, Kent, faces one charge of making a false election expenses declaration and a further charge of using a false instrument under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.

Little, of Ware, Hertfordshire, faces three counts of intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence under the Serious Crime Act 2007.

Marion Little
Marion Little

The three defendants, who deny all the charges, appeared in the dock on Monday for the first day of their trial. They are on unconditional bail.

A panel was selected for the case which is expected to take until early December.

They were sent away until Tuesday morning, when 14 jurors will be selected and sworn in before prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee QC opens the case.

The jury will be trimmed to 12 following the opening.

In 2015, Mackinlay beat Nigel Farage, then Ukip leader, into second place with a majority of almost 3,000.

Last year, Mackinlay held on to the Kent seat of South Thanet with an increased majority of 6,387 – a week after it was announced he would be prosecuted.