Craig Mackinlay MP trial jury retires for Christmas

Craig Mackinlay arriving at court on Tuesday 16 October Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Craig Mackinlay won the South Thanet seat for the Conservatives in 2015

The jury in the trial of South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay and party activist Marion Little is to continue its deliberations in the new year.

It was sent home for Christmas after clearing the MP's election agent Nathan Gray of submitting false expenses claims for the 2015 general election.

Earlier in the trial, the judge told jurors to acquit Mr Gray, of Hawkhurst in Kent, of one charge of forgery.

The trial at Southwark Crown Court has been sitting for just over eight weeks.

Mr Mackinlay 52, of Ramsgate, denies two charges of making a false election expenses declaration under the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Ms Little, a Conservative Party staff member from Ware in Hertfordshire, denies three counts of intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence under the Serious Crime Act 2007.

The jury will return to continue deliberations on 2 January.

Judge Mr Justice Edis told jurors not to worry about keeping the case in their minds over the festive period and wished them a happy Christmas.

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