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Electoral Commission concludes two EU referendum campaigner cases

Published: 18 Oct 2016

The Electoral Commission has fined two EU referendum campaigners, Mr Roger Gabb and Lady Sue Inkin, £1,000 each for failing to include an imprint on newspaper advertisements they placed during the regulated period (15 April to 23 June) for the referendum. It is an offence not to include an imprint on printed campaign material that is made available to the public during the regulated period.

In both cases the campaigners placed advertisements in local newspapers arguing support of a vote to leave the EU. Neither campaigner included their name and address in their advert, meaning that voters could not identify its promoter.

Following investigations into each campaigner, the Commission has concluded that both campaigners committed an offence by failing to include an imprint in their adverts. Mr Gabb paid the fine on 11 October 2016. Lady Inkin has until 2 November to pay the fine.

Commenting on both cases, Louise Edwards, Head of Regulatory Compliance and Casework at the Electoral Commission, said:

“It is vital that voters can identify the source of campaign material that seeks to persuade them to vote a certain way. Referendums in particular highlight the importance of these rules, as many campaigners may only be campaigning for a short period of time and will not be familiar to voters.

“When the rules are broken, voters can be confident that action will be taken. In these cases we have fined the two campaigners in line with our established enforcement procedures.”

The monthly casework update, which includes details on all of our recently concluded investigations, can be found on our website here.

Any penalties that are imposed by the Commission go into the Consolidated Fund. This is managed by HM Treasury and not the Electoral Commission.

Ends

See our guidance to all EU referendum campaigners on the imprint requirement here.

For more information please contact:

Umar Hanif at the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0536.
Out of office hours 07789 920414
Email uhanif@electoralcommission.org.uk

Notes to editors

  1. The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK's democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections and are responsible for the conduct and regulation of referendums held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000).
  2. The Electoral Commission has a range of enforcement powers under PPERA 2000 and the European Union Referendum Act 2015 (EURA). For more information on the regulatory work of the Commission see the website here.
  3. Any potential breaches of the rules which regulate political party funding are considered in line with the Commission's enforcement policy which can be accessed here.
  4. On the third Tuesday of every month, the Electoral Commission publishes details of concluded cases where the Commission has imposed sanctions here.
  5. An individual or organisation that is issued with a sanction by the Electoral Commission has 28 days to appeal that decision.
  6. In both cases the fines will increase by 50% if it is not paid within 56 days of being imposed. After a further 28 days we may take action to obtain payment through the courts using the debt recovery process.
  7. The Commission regulates the requirement for EU referendum campaigners to include an imprint on all printed campaign material under PPERA.
  8. Mr Roger Gabb placed an advertisement in a number of local newspapers which began “On the 23rd June, you will be given a once in a lifetime opportunity to help shape the future of our country. Here are some the reasons why your vote to LEAVE is so crucial”.
  9. Lady Sue Inkin also placed an advertisement in a number of local newspapers which began “On the 23rd June, you will be given a once in a lifetime opportunity to help shape the future of our country. Here are some the reasons why your vote to LEAVE is so crucial”.
  10. Campaigners were only required to register as a “permitted participant” if they intended to spend over £10,000 campaigning for an outcome during the regulated period.

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