Oliver Letwin Questions “10p Tax” and Electoral Law

I’ll post up some more thoughts on Alistair Darling’s statement to the House of Commons regarding the change in personal allowances (to cover the mess of the doubling of the 10p tax band) later on, but for now, I want to echo Oliver Letwin’s comment in the house. Does the announcement of this change in the run up to the Crewe and Nantwich by election breech any part of electoral law?

Certainly in the run up to the Local and General Elections there is a period of Purdah, but I’m not aware of any special arrangements for by-elections. It would be silly to shut down everything just because of a by-election (think how much fun you could have in the run up to key legislation), but this announcement could be seen as blatant electioneering – which is of course what the ‘tax cutting budget’ was intended to do in the first place.

Anyone more versed in this issue care to comment?

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