Carmichael warns on new election spending regulations

So, if you’re the Tories and you’re lagging in the polls, you’ve run out of ideas and you’re basically a hot mess masquerading as a Government, but you want to grip on to power because you think you are entitled to it, what do you do?

You can’t gerrymander like the Republicans have done in states all over the US to ensure that they run State legislatures because our boundary setting process is independent.

Well, you could give yourself a massive financial boost by raising the campaign spending limits to a level at which you can comfortably outspend your rivals. And you also raise the levels at which you have to report donations.

In Parliament today, without debate, they slipped out a regulation doing just that.

Now these limits were well overdue a rise, but these limits should be set by consensus between the parties. Not on how much money the party of the rich can expect to raise.

Alistair Carmichael took to Twitter to express his displeasure:

The government has just pushed through a new regulation on election spending. At a single stroke it almost doubles the permitted spending in UK elections – with no debate, scrutiny or vote in Parliament.

Public confidence in our democracy is only harmed by the idea that somehow it can be bought by the people with the deepest pockets. The government has given no evidence in support of these changes. The Electoral Commission itself is concerned about the proposals.

To add a little context or nuance – these limits probably should increase somewhat as they have not been regularly updated over time. What is dangerous and irresponsible is to increase them massively in one go without a consensus across the political parties.

Election agents across the country will now be adjusting their spreadsheets accordingly…

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