Following attempts by the Coalition to bar Andrew Withers from becoming Leader of the Libertarian Party we have taken legal advice and requested clarification from the Electoral Commission on the legality or otherwise of the government’s actions. I have previously posted on this here, here and here.
This afternoon the following email was received from the Electoral Commission and is their considered opinion on Vince Cable’s attempt to remove Andrew Withers as Leader of the Libertarian Party through the courts.
The current proceedings taken against you is a matter for the Courts to decide.
If the party makes an application to appoint you as Leader, then we shall consider the application in accordance with PPERA taking account of any implications of the Court decision. If approved, we shall update the party’s registered entry.
So the considered opinion of the Electoral Commission is that the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has the right to determine who shall and who shall not be the Leader or an officer of a political party.
Also that it is the Electoral Commission’s considered opinion that it is up a court to decide whether Andrew Withers will be the elected Leader of a registered political party, not the members, and that the Electoral Commission will approve an ‘application’ from the Party, not a notification from the members that a new Leader has been elected.
Freedom of association has been the bedrock of our parliamentary democracy, under the Coalition the freedom to associate will be decided by the Government.
I wonder if we’ll all be arrested on Saturday for subversion when Andrew becomes Party Leader.