Labour hacks are normally quick to attack the Lib Dems for seeing only another by-election opportunity when an MP dies. In Peter Law’s case though, it is Labour that have been seriously quick off the mark.
It gets worse. Now Labour are accused by his widow of offering Law a peerage to not stand.
The point, as I’ve made on Iain Dale’s blog, is that this is not merely dodgy, it is illegal. Offering a peerage for a favour is a breach of the Honours (Prevention of abuses) Act 1925. If Yates of the Yard is doing his job, he should be on Trish Law’s doorstep within the next few days.
Labour councillor Bob Piper retorts “[this] is exactly how Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders have shafted those they want to shunt upstairs for generations.” Typical New Labour logic: murder has been going on since the dawn of time; that isn’t a good reason for legalising it. To be fair, he may be right; that only goes to show what an indefensible thing political patronage really is. Wisely, official Labour have adopted a “deny everything” response, although it may yet come back to haunt them.
“There is widespread abuse where candidates are elected on lists – often the majority of them having lost in the constituencies which they also stood for.
“So the voters rejected them in those constituencies, but they end up winning on lists.
“I think it’s an abuse – if you’re defeated and end up winning and setting up in the very same constituency where the voters kicked you out that is an abuse. “
This, despite the fact that no-one can find any evidence to support Hain’s claims that list AMs are abusing the system to help them win constituency seats (I wonder if Maggie Jones will be installed in time to vote for this ridiculous system?).