The controversy over the Government’s view that there should be no freepost election addresses for Police and Crime Commissioner elections has caught the headlines so far, but there is something far worse in the details of the draft legislation. Put simply: having considered having national expenditure limits for the elections, the Conservative ministers in the Home Office have decided to have none.
There will be expense limits for individual candidates and their campaigns. However it is proposed that political parties and outside bodies (called ‘third parties’ in this context) will have no limits on how much they can spend on the elections nationally. No limit, that is, except for how much cash they have to spend, something on which the Conservatives have a significant advantage over any other political party.
The draft regulations will require a simple yes/no vote in Parliament. That the proposals so slant the election rules in favour of the Conservatives may well tempt Labour peers, and indeed Lib Dem peers who do not like the idea of directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners, to cause trouble.