The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Electoral Campaigning Transparency held his first oral evidence session with Jessica Garland from the Electoral Reform Society and Kyle Taylor from Fair Vote. Stephen Kinnock MP, APPG Chair and Kenneth Clarke MP, APPG Vice-Chair were both attending the session.
The session was incredibly productive and acted as a strong framing conversation for the rest of the inquiry.
Stephen Kinnock MP said:
‘It is already clear we need a more powerful regulator that can enforce the law out of fear of recourse for wrongdoing.”
Kyle Taylor from Fair Vote said:
‘Fair Vote first pursued these issues more than a year ago. Much more needs to be done. The stakes are bigger than any one election. They concern a wide range of election campaigning areas like funding and online advertisements. Those who break the law should be investigated and prosecuted.’
Jessica Garland from the Electoral Reform Society said:
‘We don’t want to be in a context when the results of an election are put into question. We want to have the right monitoring in the first place to avoid that.’
On funding, Kenneth Clarke MP said:
‘We should have a complete openness on sources of finance. At the moment it seems you can do whatever you like in a campaign. It’s a danger to our democracy.’
This first APPG oral evidence session pointed out that at the moment, there is a culture of malfeasance because deterrents are not significant enough. Campaigners know that it’s very unlikely that they would ever face consequences for what they do in election time because the Electoral Commission does not have sufficient powers to investigate and prosecute offenders.
The next session is 24 June and open to the public.
Listen to the first Oral Evidence session