- The UK Electoral Commission announced that it is examining Momentum.
- The watchdog is investigating whether the pro-Corbyn group breached spending limits during the 2017 General Election campaign.
- Momentum spokesperson admits “administrative errors” were made.
- Momentum was set up in 2015 to support Corbyn as Labour leader.
LONDON – Momentum, the group set up to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, is being investigated by the UK’s Electoral Commission over its expenditure during the general election campaign.
The Commission announced on Thursday that it is examining whether the left-wing national campaign group breached election spending rules in the run-up to the June 8 general election.
Specifically, the watchdog will investigate whether Momentum overspent during the election campaign, and whether it the accounts for its payments and donations were either inaccurate or incomplete.
A press release on the investigation published Thursday morning said the investigation will cover:
whether or not Momentum spent in excess of the spending limits for an unauthorised non-party campaigner in the UK Parliamentary general election.
whether or not Momentum submitted a return that did not include accurate donation information and/or the required declaration stating that the donation return was complete and accurate.
whether or not Momentum submitted a return that was not a complete statement of payments made in respect of controlled expenditure.
whether or not Momentum submitted a return that did not include all invoices for payments of more than £200.
Momentum has admitted “administrative errors” were made over its election spending that can be “easily rectified.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the group said:
“Momentum put a lot of effort and resources into detailed budgeting and financial procedures during the election to ensure full compliance.
“Our election campaign was delivered on a low budget because it tapped into the energy and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of volunteers across the country.
“Much of the Electoral Commission investigation refers to administrative errors that can be easily rectified. We have a good working relationship with the Electoral Commission, and will fully comply with the investigation going forward.”
Momentum was founded in 2015 following Corbyn’s shock victory in the leadership contest following the resignation of former Labour leader Ed Miliband.
The group says it has more than 30,000 paying members, divided into nearly 200 branches across the country. It says 1,500 more have joined since the Labour Party’s annual conference in September.
Momentum played a major role in supporting Labour in the June 8 general election, especially online, where its social media posts reached millions of people.
Bob Posner, the Electoral Commission’s Director of Political Finance and Regulation and Legal Counsel, said: “Momentum are a high profile active campaigning body. Questions over their compliance with the campaign finance rules at June’s general election risks causing harm to voters’ confidence in elections.
“There is significant public interest in us investigating Momentum to establish the facts in this matter and whether there have been any offences.
“Once complete, the Commission will decide whether any breaches have occurred and, if so, what further action may be appropriate, in line with its enforcement policy.”
Business Insider has contacted Corbyn’s office for comment.
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