As has been well reported over the past few days, the Electoral Commission is currently consdering whether to pass the Hain Affair over to the police. This is primarily because as a regulator it has no real power of censure and when it finds the law - in this case the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 - to have been broken its only option is to send it to the Police.
As already mentioned, the Times leader this morning note that PPER is seen as a bit of an inconvenience by the people that passed it into law and should you need any evidence of that look know further than the Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw and the Ministry of Justice. When asked what sentencing guidelines had been produced for offences under the Act the answer was a glorious zilch. Zip. Zero. Nada.
Basically the Government's 'anti-sleaze' totemic law is taken so seriously by the Government that no one seems to have considered the possibility that anyone might actually break it. It really does sum up the sheer contempt that Labour have for the very laws that they themselves created. The PPER was always an act that was said to be about restoring trust. That no one has been directed to produce sentencing guideline for its offences just goes to show what they really think of it.
Who wants to bet that the result will be very low punishments setting the sentencing precedent for those that follow?