This is an interesting article on how the Labour Party in Hackney produced a leaflet showing “smiling locals” saying how great the party is.
Cllr Will Stoodley (ILG, West Harrow) sets the scene:
“Our letter to the Electoral Commission sets out the active members of the Harrow Labour Group who are masquerading as ordinary members of the public, along with other issues concerning factual inaccuracies; especially notable is the Labour Party’s claim that they froze Council Tax in Harrow for three years when in fact in year three they raised Council Tax by 2%. I would add that Ann Groves was a former Harrow Labour Party Councillor, that Jack Elliot was the former Chair of the Harrow East Labour Party when Tony McNulty was the MP, and that his son, Barry Kendler, is running for Councillor in Edgware ward.”
Cllr Thaya Idaikkadar (ILG, Roxeth) continues:
“Bhavin Thanki is represented as a member of the general public, but in fact is an active member of the Labour Party. Pam Gershon is represented as a member of the general public, but in fact is an active member of the Labour Party and is a Labour Party Branch official. Sonika Sidhu is represented as a member of the general public, but in fact is a former Labour Party Councillor in Ealing.”
ILG complained to the Electoral Commission, who said:
Election material is subject to a number of requirements under electoral law. Section 110 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) 1983 requires that details about the printer and promoter of any election material are included on the face of the material. Section 106 of the RPA 1983 specifies that it is an illegal practice to make or publish a false statement of fact about the personal character or conduct of a candidate in order to affect the return of a candidate at an election. Election material is also subject to the same laws of libel and slander as other, non-electoral, communications.
Beyond these requirements, however, the content of electoral material is not regulated by law. It is the role of campaigners to debate and challenge the accuracy of policy statements made during election campaigns.
The Electoral Commission does not have specific powers to investigate allegations in relation to the sections of the RPA 1983 which relate to campaign material, which would instead be the responsibility of the police to investigate and enforce. Any evidence that an electoral offence may have been committed should therefore be reported to the police and we would encourage anyone with such evidence to do so. I have passed on your letter in this instance to the Metropolitan Police, so that they are aware of your concerns.
Meanwhile, back to Hackney, Jack Tinley, deputy chairman of Hackney Conservatives, said: “I’m really shocked they could be so stupid. Instead of going out and engaging with real people to find out what they think, they pass of the mayor as a resident.
When are the the Labour Party going to stop treating people like idiots ?.