Electoral Commission wins court case against Labour Party

News from the Electoral Commission:

The London County Court has … issued a judgment rejecting the Labour Party’s appeal against the Electoral Commission’s sanction for making late payments in relation to the 2014 European Parliamentary Election, agreeing that the Electoral Commission’s approach was correct…

On 15 December 2015, the Electoral Commission announced that it had fined the Labour Party £1848 for making late payments in relation to the 2014 European Parliamentary Election. Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, registered parties are required to obtain all invoices for their campaign expenditure during elections within 30 days after the date of the election. They are required to pay all of these claims within 60 days of the date of the election.

The Labour Party paid a total of 13 invoices late. The total value of these was approximately £48,000, which is 5% of the total value of expenditure reported by the party at the election. In its investigation the Commission found no evidence to suggest that the non-compliance was deliberate or that the party gained financially or otherwise from the late payments. However, when taking into account the resources and experience of the party, the Commission considered this an unacceptable failure to comply with the rules. The level of the fine reflects this.

In other news today from the Electoral Commission:

The Electoral Commission has now concluded its investigation following a complaint made by Blackford’s solicitors on behalf of the Conservative and Unionist Party. The complaint made allegations of bias about the conduct of a Commission member of staff, Louise Edwards. The investigation has not found evidence of ongoing bias, or appearance of bias or that Louise Edwards in any way breached the Commission’s code of conduct.

In addition to this, it did find that procedures for ensuring impartiality of investigations are in place and that Commission policies relating to political activity of staff are appropriate