The All Party Parliamentary Group for Electoral Campaign Transparency – formed in Parliament yesterday – will launch an inquiry into Britain’s electoral campaign rules. It will take evidence from experts and civil society to feed into a Green Paper advising the government on how to better safeguard and strengthen our democracy.
It comes after increasing pressure on the government to act in safeguarding elections from unscrupulous political donations, campaign advertising and foreign interference. The government recently published its response to the consultation on ‘Protecting the Debate’, pledging some changes. But there is little detail so far, campaigners say.
Stephen Kinnock, Labour MP for Aberavon, chair of the new group, said:
“The fall-out from the 2016 referendum has exposed the fact that our democracy is in danger of being overwhelmed by a toxic combination of dodgy data and dirty money. Drip by drip we have seen how our legislative and regulatory frameworks are simply not fit for purpose.
“Our political system can only function effectively if the public is confident that our elections and referenda are being policed effectively and that the playing field is level. Yet we currently have analogue regulations governing a digital age.”
Caroline Lucas Green MP for Brighton Pavilion , vice-chair of the new group, said:
“The work of the appg on electoral campaigning transparency seeks to make our electoral laws fit for the 21st century. This is not about Brexit, this is about all future elections and ensuring that the people can determine the future of the UK by strengthening our democratic processes.
This APPG will work to increase confidence in our governance institutions and to return power to the people”
Kenneth Clarke, Conservative MP for Rushcliffe, vice chair of the APPG, said:
“This APPG is about looking forward not backward. No one can deny that we learned some valuable lessons about our democratic system in 2016. It’s time to act on those lessons to safeguard UK democracy and that’s why I’ve joined this APPG on Electoral Campaigning Transparency. Our current campaign laws are designed for soapboxes and leaflets and the fact is elections are fought and won not just on the doorsteps but online as well.
“An issue this important and this complex requires cross–party cooperation. Public confidence in elections must be restored and members of this APPG will be working to strengthen our laws, which by extension will strengthen our democracy.”
Meanwhile the government is still not willing to enforce better regulations on electoral practices.
We will continue campaigning to hold the government accountable and ensure electoral transparency.
APPG Vice Chairs Include:
Caroline Lucas MP
Kenneth Clarke MP
Wera Hobhouse MP
Deirde Brock MP
Owen Smith MP
Lord Chris Rennard