Friday, November 5, 2010

Want Sane Politics? Start Here:

  Editors note:   This is how the Mother of Parliaments deals with candidates or campaigns run on lies and half-truths. At a stroke. Can we learn? (reprinted from The Telegraph of London  (11/5).

 Labour minister barred from Commons for three years

Phil Woolas loses seat after knowingly making false statements about opponent in May's general election.

The Labour MP could be barred from the Commons for three years, with the election contest for his Oldham East and Saddleworth seat set to be re-run. 

But Mr Woolas said he would fight the ruling - the first of its kind in 99 years - and was seeking a judicial review.

"The court has decided that an election should be overturned and an MP should lose his seat and be incapable of being elected to the House of Commons for three years because statements which attacked a candidate's 'political conduct' were also attacks on his 'honour' and 'purity'."

The court decided that the Oldham election should be be re-run, and that Mr Woolas should lose his seat and be barred from being elected to the House of Commons for three years.
It is now up to Commons Speaker John Bercow to decide whether to impose the three year ban, initiate a by-election for Oldham East and Saddleworth immediately or wait for further legal proceedings.

The Speaker's office said Mr Bercow would make a statement to the Commons on Monday.
Lord Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor, had earlier conceded that Mr Woolas would be forced out, saying he will not be Labour's candidate in the by-election that must now be held.

He said: "If there is to be a by-election, which it sounds like there is going to be, then Labour will have a new candidate."

Mr Woolas, who won May's general election with a majority of just 103 votes, is the first MP for 99 years to face a successful challenge to his election victory on the basis of publishing false statements about an opponent.

The specially convened election court had heard that the Labour MP stirred up racial tensions in a desperate bid to retain his seat in Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Giving their judgment, Mr Justice Nigel Teare and Mr Justice Griffith Williams said Mr Woolas was guilty of illegal practices under election law.

Mr Woolas was also found to have knowingly made a false statement that Mr Watkins had reneged on a promise to live within the constituency prior to the election.

That suggested Mr Watkins was "untrustworthy".

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