Political reformers have raised questions after the Electoral Commission decided not to refer Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith’s election expenses to the police for further investigation.
Commenting on ruling concerning the Tory MP for Richmond Park, the director of Unlock Democracy, Peter Facey, responded: “This ruling sets a very worrying legal precedent."
He went on: "It is now seemingly okay to overspend to get elected, just so long as you don’t overspend by too much. Some will rightly ask if it is a case of one rule for the rich and another for everyone else." said Facey.
He continued "This [case] has far-reaching consequences for future elections. By not enforcing the short campaign limit they are effectively abolishing it by default. This decision should be made by parliamentarians. Not only are the Electoral Commission trying to bury bad news just before Christmas, I fear it will look to many that they are making the law up by themselves on the hoof."
"Coming as it does just weeks after the High Court ruled on another piece of electoral law in the Phil Woolas case, others will also ask what is the point of the Electoral Commission at all if they cannot back up their guidance with action," he said.
Unlock Democracy is a leading UK campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms. It was formed in 2007 and is the successor organisation to Charter 88 and the New Politics Network.