Northampton

Northampton MP David Mackintosh on election campaign fund 'error'

David Mackintosh, the Conservative MP for Northampton South Image copyright PA
Image caption David Mackintosh became the Conservative MP for Northampton South in May 2015

David Mackintosh MP has said a failure to declare an election campaign donation was down to an "error".

The Tory MP has commented to the BBC for the first time about campaign payments made by businessmen.

The police have said, on the advice of the Electoral Commission, they would not be investigating one payment which had not been declared correctly.

Mr Mackintosh also said a gift of a ticket he accepted to a charity event had been declared but not recorded.

The MP, who was elected to parliament for Northampton South in May 2015, had previously been leader of Northampton Borough Council when it made a £10m loan to the football club to rebuild the East Stand at the Sixfields Stadium.

Work on the ground came to a halt last year after contractors said they were owed over £2m.

Image caption Work to revamp the East Stand at Sixfields stopped in 2015 after contractors said they had not been paid
Image copyright Northampton Town
Image caption A architect's impression of what the completed East Stand is supposed to look like on completion

'Administrative error'

The borough council was investigating where its money had gone, while police were also holding their own inquiry.

The company overseeing the project, 1st Land Ltd, went into administration last year.

The company's owner Howard Grossman had paid £6,195 for tickets to an event hosted by Northamptonshire Conservatives at the Carlton Club in London in November 2014.

Mr Mackintosh said those payments were "not considered to be a political donation under the law".

Three other businessmen made payments of £10,000 to the local Conservative Association for Mr Mackintosh's election campaign fund.

It is not unusual for business people to give financial support for political campaigns.

The MP said: "All donations to the election campaign were correctly declared in line with Electoral Commission rules, save one donation in April 2014 which was the result of an administrative error that has since been cleared up with the Electoral Commission.

"I never discussed Sixfields or any council matters with anyone who donated money to the election campaign - the focus was always on national issues."

Winehouse fundraiser

Mr Grossman also paid for the MP's £500 ticket to attend an Amy Winehouse Foundation fundraiser in London in November 2013.

Mr Mackintosh said he declared this to Northampton Borough Council, which he left on becoming an MP, and to Northamptonshire County Council, of which he is still an elected councillor.

He said: "The declaration was then published by the county council, but I have no idea why this failed to appear on the borough council's records as I absolutely submitted the declaration.

"I also tweeted that I was at the event, and spoke about the event to the borough council's chief executive in passing the following day. These are not the actions of someone who is trying to hide something."

Mr Mackintosh added: "I strongly welcome the investigations that are currently underway by the police, the borough council's external auditors and their audit committee to establish the details around the Sixfields loan."

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