In a letter to the UK Liberal Democrats the Electoral Commission said in relation to the 2016 Edinburgh West campaign of Alex Cole-Hamilton:
“In our investigation we questioned whether the values of some payments included in the Party’s campaign expenditure return, which had been apportioned between it and the candidate return for Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western), were justifiable and if the campaign expenditure return accurately reflected the true expenditure by the Party. In particular, we queried the apportionments in respect of a number of leaflets that had been distributed in the Edinburgh Western constituency.
“In view of the responses to this aspect of the investigation, we are satisfied that there were no breaches in respect of the apportionments.”
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:
‘I learned this morning that the Electoral Commission have concluded an investigation into my 2016 election spending and found no irregularities with my return.
“Members of West Edinburgh SNP had made an allegation to them immediately after a 15 month police investigation (which the SNP also initiated) determined I had no case to answer.
“All told the SNP have seen me subjected to two tax-payer funded investigations spanning a total of 27 months. While the cost to the public purse of these is hard to quantify, the waste of police time in particular is inexcusable.
“To suffer an unexpected and heavy defeat is hard, but that’s politics. To then meet that defeat with a complaint to overstretched police officers, is a wilful disregard of both the democratic process and the public good.
“I hope the SNP reflect on that as defeat becomes more commonplace to them.
“Finally, if their intention was to distract me from the job I love, then they have failed. Every single day of these past 27 months I have continued to work my heart out for the people and communities of West Edinburgh I’m so proud to serve.”