Fair Vote UK Submits to Committee on Standards in Public Life

20/08/2020 News

The momentum behind sensible democratic reform is growing!

Building on last week’s good news about the introduction of digital imprints, today Fair Vote UK submitted to the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s review of electoral regulation.

The CSPL’s inquiry is looking specifically at the regulation of electoral finance and the role of the Electoral Commission. It was a similar review by the CSPL that led to the creation of the Electoral Commission and our current regulatory framework in 2000.

The Electoral Commission is a world renowned institution but how could a regulatory framework devised twenty years ago possibly still be fair? Think how different the world was then…

Fairness and trust were at the heart of Fair Vote UK’s submission. 

The former creates the latter; if fairness is not upheld, then trust will erode. This is exactly what we have seen happen in recent years, as organisations bend the rules and get away with it.

The Electoral Commission needs a new charter from Parliament that significantly increases its power and resourcing. The Commission needs to be able to act faster, audit wider and deeper, utilise academic expertise, establish regional offices, bring prosecutions and administer substantially larger fines.

The rules the Commission is responsible for enforcing also need to be made clearer and more robust. The digital revolution has introduced significant loopholes into our regulatory regime. These must be closed if democracy is to thrive in the 21st century.

It may seem like things move very slowly in this area but they do move!

Last week’s announcement on digital imprints is evidence of this.

The Cabinet Office has invited Fair Vote UK to contribute to the technical consultation on digital imprints and we will be using the opportunity to push for rules that are as robust as possible. Imprints should be clear, embedded on the image and state clearly who has paid for the content, why you are seeing it and who else it is being targeted at.

If concerned citizens maintain pressure then change does happen. Thank you to everyone that has supported Fair Vote UK’s work in these often worrying years.