The ODT slams the EFA:
There can be no doubt now that the Electoral Finance Act is a litigious bomb waiting to go off.
I wonder how many MPs will face electoral petitions?
The reported comment by the Electoral Commission’s chief executive, Dr Helena Catt: “The commission is not confident it will be able to reach informed positions on the interpretation of some provisions within the election period, and notes the situation is exacerbated by the legal reality that it cannot finally determine questions of whether, for instance, an item is an election advertisement”, makes that plain enough. It means post-election litigation of some magnitude.
Dr Catt certainly expects it, describing party election and donation returns, including the new line between election expenses and expenses which are precluded because an MP was acting in their “capacity as an MP” rather than electioneering, as likely court disputes. In some electorates where challenges are mounted, this must mean that the courts will decide who is elected.
Not quite. If they found an MP overspent, then there is a by-election. The loser does not gain the seat automatically.
The commission, the Human Rights Commission and the Law Society all criticised the Act as unclear and undemocratic before 63 MPs made it into law. But Labour and its allies are now discovering the folly of forcing this ill-considered law through as quickly as they did.
And they are the ones that keep breaking it!