PricewaterhouseCoopers probes Tory spending

The news emerged after it was disclosed PricewaterhouseCoopers, auditors of the Tory party, has sought clarification on how public money given to political parties – known as Short Money – can be spent.

An NAO spokesman confirmed Short Money comes from a Commons appropriation account audited by the NAO and would be subject to qualification if funds are not correctly managed.

The cash is intended for expenditure by political parties on parliamentary business and comes out of the same account as MPs’ salaries and expenses.A spokesman said the NAO would have to take ‘assurance’ from PwC that the funds were correctly spent.

‘We would then consider whether to qualify the overall accounts,’ he said.A spokesman for the House of Commons Fees Office confirmed PwC had been in contact.

According to a House of Commons formula the Tory party received almost £3m this year in Short Money while the Liberal Democrats were given £1m. Labour was eligible for more than £5m.

Each party is obliged to provide the Clerk to the Commons with an auditor’s report showing the money has been spent legitimately.

The Tories have been reported denying their Short Money has been spent inappropriately.

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