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Friday, December 28, 2007

An ineffective law

The Guardian reports that police investigating possible criminal charges arising from Labour's "donorgate" controversy risk another failed prosecution attempt because of the uncertain state of the law.

They say that following the Crown Prosecution Service's refusal to sanction a prosecution over the higher-profile loans for peerages accusations, the uncertainty may again mean no action is taken when the Metropolitan police file is given to the CPS, probably next month.

Apparently the problem is one of establishing a public interest justification for a prosecution where those involved have all admitted error. The Electoral Commission clearly believe that the law is an ass. They want to be given a more flexible range of powers which would allow them to punish mistakes and other transgressions without having to call in the police. They also want to have the power to interview third parties such as David Abrahams. At present they can only question party officials. Makes sense to me.

It does seem rather perverse to have a law regulating political funding, which is flouted regularly by the party that introduced it and which cannot be enforced in any meaningful way.
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