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10 MORE MPS 'FACE PROBE' Election spend crackdown.

Byline: Dean Rouswell

TEN more MPs face being quizzed about breaking the law on election spending after a probe was announced into millionaire Tory Zac Goldsmith's campaign.

The watchdog Electoral Commission is examining Mr Goldsmith's spending after doubts were raised that he kept within strict limits.

But the organisation which made the claim - the Bureau of Investigative Journalism - believes it has found a further 10 MPs who have a case to answer over their spending in the runup to May's General Election. Sources at the bureau say they initially raised questions over the spending of 30 MPs.

But they intend to present evidence to the Electoral Commission within days about a hard core of 10 they believe have the strongest case to answer.

The revelation will come as a new blow to Parliament in the wake of last year's expenses scandal.

The Commission set an pounds 11,003 limit on spending by candidates in London's Richmond Park in the 23 days between the dissolution of Parliament and the general election on May 6. Mr Goldsmith, 35, filed a detailed declaration of his spending in June, putting the total pounds 220 below the cap at pounds 10,783.

The new MP has angrily denied any wrongdoing, insisting he had followed exactly the same practices in declaring campaign funds as every other MP.

The bureau's dossier suggested that sums on invoices for campaign materials did not match the figures submitted in Mr Goldsmith's spending returns.

The investigation raised questions about Mr Goldsmith's spending on campaign materials such as signs, jackets and leaflets.

Targeted But Mr Goldsmith said the story, first broadcast by Channel 4 News, was "sleazy journalism" and he had been targeted because he fought a tight contest in a highly visible seat.

The MP and C4 presenter Jon Snow had a furious on-screen row on Friday night. Channel 4 News said: "The questions we have raised relating to his expenses are entirely legitimate."

The MP is son of the late Sir James Goldsmith who founded the Referendum Party which campaigned for a vote on whether the UK should remain in the European Union.


PROBED: New Tory MP Zac Goldsmith
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jul 18, 2010
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