So it is still pre-election. Labour have said that they don’t think the pledge cards are electoral activity, yet have offered to include them in their election return.
In the meantime the Chief Electoral Office has been getting legal opinions. One from the Office of Lgeal Counsel on 14 Sep 2005 and one from Crown Law Office on 16 Sep 2005. These are blacked out so we do not know their exact advice. However in light of the fact that the CEO later referred Labour to the Police, it seems a safe bet they both backed the CEO’s view of the law. In fact months later the CEO tells the Police that Crown Law had stated the law with regards to Section 221 is very clear.
Then comes the bombshell. Out of the blue, three weeks later on 5 October 2005 Labour withdraws its offer to include the costs in their election return. Now this is a serious matter of electoral administration when a major party gives a pledge to the top electoral officer, and then reneges on it.