There are all sorts of issues at stake here and it is interesting that it is this issue that has opened up the first of what I suspect will be many divisions within the Parliamentary Labour Party. Personally I think the judgement is important and right. Politics is a tough game and the election process needs to challenge what both individuals and the party they represent stand for - but telling lies cannot be part of that. That is why I am astonished by these comments from Labour MP Graham Stringer in a BBC Online article about the issue:
"If the courts get involved in elections when people go over the top on policy and sometimes tell lies then we are going to have a very strange electoral process in future,"That quote is quite clear to me, this is a Labour MP saying that lies are acceptable in an election campaign. It is no wonder that people have problems with politics.
Personally, I think it will be the Lib Dems who are most worried about this. I have often thought their by-election campaigning is on the edge of acceptability. As an example they have often used dubious graphs that misrepresent results in previous elections or twist history to make it a European campaign relevant to a local by-election. We should not forget that they are also guilty of one of the nastiest bits of political campaigning ever when Simon Hughes stood against gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell (who I don't believe had come out at the time). Simon Hughes is, of course, now the Lib Dem Deputy Leader.