Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Date set for Mark Reckless court case

Rochster & Strood Conservative Association will get their day in court after filing a claim against UKIP MP, Mark Reckless and UKIP councillor, Chris Irvine for the money they've wasted on leaflets promoting Reckless before he defected to UKIP.

The Conservatives are asking a judge to set the very dangerous precedent that a candidate deciding to switch political parties should have to compensate the party they resign from for the money they've spent promoting them prior to their resignation.

This would be a swift 5 minute judgement in favour of Reckless were it not for their argument that approving campaign expenditure on leaflets two days before he defected was calculated to cost them money when he would have known that the leaflets would have been useless before they were even taken out of the box which, on the face of it, sounds reasonable.

However, as I understand it, Mark Reckless was not an officer of Rochester & Strood Conservative Association and as such, his approval for expenditure would only have been required because it impacted on the legal limit on election spending and not to authorise the spending of the association's funds. We don't vote for political parties in Westminster elections, we vote for the person so what Rochester & Strood Conservative Association actually did (rather than what they thought they were doing) was print leaflets to promote the Mark Reckless personally and to put the Conservative Party's brand on those leaflets.

Was it fair for Mark Reckless not to tell the Conservatives not to print the leaflets and save them some money? Probably not. But politics isn't fair and unfair isn't illegal.