In its report on the 2015 general election comes this sensible recommendation – but it’s also rather embarrassing that it hasn’t already long been the case:
It’s also disappointing that the review goes for rather soft pedalling over the death of constituency election expense limits:
During our campaign monitoring, we also noted examples of party campaign literature that was targeted at specific constituencies. Campaign material of this type is not a new phenomenon, and reflects how party campaigners can use familiarity with the rules to plan their campaigns effectively. The intended effect of this material appears to have been to influence voters in the specific constituency that is described; however, as the material does not name the party’s candidate, it is not clearly attributable to the candidate’s spending limit. As such, campaign material of this kind is generally reportable under national party spending limits rather than candidate limits, but the final position on this will always depend on the specific facts and context.
These are important areas which would benefit from clarification. We will be considering them further in relation to spending returns from the 2015 election and to campaigning at the May 2016 polls. Lord Hodgson’s review of the non-party campaigning rules may also highlight important matters to consider in relation to this theme.