Labour’s shadow equalities minister Cat Smith facing ‘police probe’ over expenses claims

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Labour’s shadow equalities minister Cat Smith is facing a police probe over alleged expenses claims.

Right-wing political blog Guido Fawkes  had made allegations of “anomalies” in the MP’s election expenses, after a number of senior Conservatives were implicated in a similar scandal.

Lancashire Police confirmed it is “looking” at the claims made against Ms Smith, who is MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood and shadow minister for Women and Equalities.

However, she has categorically denied that any wrongdoing took place.

She said:”I utterly deny the allegation that my election expenses broke the law.

“If the police do decide to investigate I will fully cooperate with their inquiries, including giving them full access to all my financial records from the General Election campaign.

“I am confident that no case will be found and I will be fully.”

The amount that election candidates are allowed to spend is strictly controlled, and it is an offence to exceed limits.

The political blog had alleged that Ms Smith declared rent for her campaign office as £1544.60, when it was listed online with an annual rent price of £8,950.

The blog also claims she declared two sums of £692.25 and £576.88 as campaign staffing costs – amounting to a tiny proportion of the £22,547.61 salary paid to a local campaign organiser, employed by the Lancaster and Fleetwood Labour Party.

However, Ms Smith disputes the assertions of the post – which appears to tie in local Labour Party finances and national election spending with Ms Smith’s own declared election expenses.

One of 32 out lesbian, gay or bisexual MPs in Parliament today, Cat Smith was elected this year as Labour’s MP in the Lancaster and Fleetwood constituency, unseating gay Tory MP Eric Ollerenshaw.

Smith is considered a rising star on the left of the party, and had been tipped for a promotion in an upcoming reshuffle.