Last updated at 10:31 AM on 1st June 2011
Under pressure: Energy Secretary Chris Huhne denies claims he overspent at the last election
Beleaguered Energy Secretary Chris Huhne was under fresh pressure last night after an investigation was launched into allegations that he broke strict spending rules in last year’s general election.
The Electoral Commission said it was beginning an inquiry into claims that the Lib Dem Cabinet minister failed to declare spending on leaflets that would have taken him over the limit allowed for candidates in a general election.
The complaint is also likely to be referred to the police.
The Sunlight Centre for Open Politics, which lodged the complaint, said it had found evidence of a potential overspend.
The Electoral Commission said an initial examination of the complaint suggested the ‘possibility of an offence under Representation of the People Act 1983’.
It will now hold a full case review.
Mr Huhne is already being investigated by Essex Police over claims, which he denies, that he persuaded his estranged wife Vicky Pryce to take speeding penalty points for him to avoid a ban.
Smile! Chris Huhne's most notorious brochure was an expensively-produced glossy with eight pages. It closely resembled a downmarket women's magazine
They broke up acrimoniously last year after 26 years of marriage when he left her for his bisexual lover Carina Trimingham.
From the Daily Mail, May 21
On May 21, the Daily Mail revealed
that aides of Mr Huhne were taped apparently admitting they misled the
authorities over his general election expenses.
Mr Huhne’s election agent is heard telling colleagues the campaign cost £60,000 – £10,000 more than declared.
Last week the Commission rejected a claim by two former Lib Dem councillors in Mr Huhne’s Eastleigh constituency that he had made a ‘false declaration’ of his election expenses.
In a statement last night on the latest allegations, Mr Huhne insisted he had done nothing wrong.
‘I have full confidence that my agent has declared my election expenses correctly and I look forward to this complaint being rejected as roundly as the last one,’ he said.
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