Website pledge campaign

Local or general campaigning:

Although the interactive map names specific candidates in specific constituencies, it is not a series of local campaigns. It is a general campaign.

This is because the interactive map covers many constituencies as a single campaign, and is clearly a campaign based on an issue, rather than primarily being about the named candidates.

Public test:

The website and the associated promotional material are available to the public, so the campaign meets the public test.

Purpose test:

Call to action to voters

The campaign does not have an explicit call to action. However, it is obviously intended to be election-related because it mentions candidates and parties. It can therefore reasonably regarded as intended to encourage voters to take into account their candidates’ position on fracking when casting their vote.

Tone

Since it is very clear what the campaigner’s view on fracking is, the campaign is implicitly positive towards candidates and parties who have signed the pledge and adopted an anti-fracking position in general.

Because candidates’ names appear on the interactive map in the relevant constituencies, a category of candidates has been clearly identified.

The website is also implicitly more positive about parties that have more candidates who have made the pledge. In particular, the Green Party has scored highly.

Context and timing

The campaign ran during the regulated period, in the six weeks leading up to the election. It was clearly aimed at the election.

How a reasonable person would see the activity

A reasonable person would think that the primary intention of the campaign is to influence candidates to sign the pledge, so that after the election there will be more MPs who have signed the pledge and will be more receptive to the campaigner’s policy aims. However, they could also reasonably think that it was intended to influence people’s voting choice in favour of candidates and parties who are anti-fracking.

The campaign can reasonably be regarded as intended to influence voters, so the purpose test is met.

Since it also meets the public test, the costs associated with the interactive map, as well as the related material on the pledge campaign, are regulated and count towards the campaigner’s regulated spending total.

Last updated: 23 September 2019