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Election Offences: Tower Hamlets

Question for Attorney General

UIN 57698, tabled on 14 December 2016

To ask the Attorney General, whether the Law Officers are able to review or challenge a decision of the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service not to follow-up the court judgment of April 2015 on election offences in Tower Hamlets with criminal prosecutions; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

22 December 2016

The police are operationally independent and ministerial responsibility lies with the Home Office. I do not have oversight of their work.

I am accountable to Parliament for the work of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). It too operates independently of government.

If the police approach the CPS for a decision as to whether an individual should be charged with any offence they will consider firstly whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction and, if so, whether a prosecution is needed in the public interest. In this case the police did not ask the CPS for a charging decision although the CPS has given investigatory advice.

There is a protocol which governs the relationship between the Attorney General and the CPS https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/15197/Protocol_between_the_Attorney_General_and_the_Prosecuting_Departments.pdf. Paragraph 4c makes clear that the Law Officers will not be consulted about prosecution decisions in cases relating to political parties or the conduct of elections.

Answered by

Attorney General