Craig Mackinlay MP has tabled a bill to reform election law by amending Section 90C of the Representation of the People Act 1983.
Having gone through a three month trial on the back of ambiguity in election law and with local elections on 2nd May, the South Thanet MP is arguing that election law must be clarified at the earliest opportunity.
For many years, it was always the established fact that candidates and agents had to approve election expenses. A Supreme Court judgment delivered in July last year put that on its head. The judgment means that, for the first time we could have a situation where election expenses that have not been approved by candidates and agents, perhaps by somebody wanting to cause mischief, could by default fall on a candidate or agent to be election expenses.
Mr Mackinlay told MPs that the Representation of the People Act 1983 needed to be amended so that candidates and agents can go about their businesses without risk of prosecution: “The desire to offer oneself for public service should not come with a threat to one’s liberty, reputation and career”, he said.
After introducing his Bill, Craig Mackinlay MP, commented:
“The glaring grey areas in election law means that candidates and agents face a real threat of criminal prosecution with life-changing consequences.
“National party spending rules and local candidate spending must be clarified.
“I have received encouraging signs from the government that they will back my bill and I hope to gain the support of MPs more widely in the coming weeks and months.”
Mr Mackinlay’s full speech can be found here. His Election Expenses (Authorisation of Free or Discounted Support) Bill is scheduled to have its Second Reading on Friday 22 March.