The British Labour Party has been enmeshed in a funding scandal for the last six months over claims they effectively sold peerages in exchange for donations in the form of low- or interest-free loans. This violates both the UK's Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925, and its election funding laws, which require full disclosure of all loans on non-commercial terms. A party secretary who violates these laws face up to a year in jail. Mp's face a more severe penalty: they lose their seats. And as the Independent points out today, this could catch Tony Blair:
The law governing elections, brought in by Mr Blair, calls for full disclosure of loans and the "person or body making such a donation".
Any MP found guilty of withholding such information from the party treasurer would have to resign his seat. Mr Blair, the member for Sedgefield, did not tell Jack Dromey, the party's honorary treasurer, about the loans.
Under the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act, an MP who "withholds from the treasurer of a registered party any material information" about donations will have to "vacate the seat or office".
This seems like an effective punishment to me. Isn't it time we introduced it here?