Official Yes and No campaigns appointed for referendum

Referendum campaign information

The Electoral Commission – the independent regulator of referendum campaign spending - has designated the official lead Yes and No campaigners for the referendum on the UK voting system on Thursday 5 May.

The Commission designated ‘Yes in May 2011 Ltd’ (campaigning as ‘Yes to Fairer Votes’) as the lead ‘Yes’ campaigner and ‘No Campaign Limited’ (campaigning as ‘NO to AV’) as the lead ‘No’ campaigner.

The two campaigners will now have access to benefits including an increased campaign spending limit of £5 million each, a public grant of up to £380,000 each, referendum broadcasts, a free delivery of campaign material to voters and the use of public rooms.

Anyone spending more than £10,000 campaigning at the referendum must register with the Electoral Commission. Several campaigners have already done so, and a list of registered campaigners can be found on the Commission’s website. Registered campaigners had until 15 March to apply to be designated by the Commission as official ‘lead campaigners’ for the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ campaign.

Referendum law requires the Commission to then determine whether applicants to become a lead campaigner ‘adequately represent’ those campaigning for the relevant referendum outcome. The Commission have today announced that the two groups met this test.

Copies of the two campaigners’ applications, as well as papers explaining the Commission’s decision on the matter, can be found on the Electoral Commission website.

All campaigners are subject to spending limits and have to report their spending, and any donations or loans of more than £7,500 that they receive, to the Commission after the referendum for publication. More information on referendum campaign rules can be found in the Commission’s referendum media handbook.

For more information Contact:

  • 020 7271 0704 (Out of office hours: 07789 920414)
  • Follow us on Twitter @ElectoralCommUK

Extra notes

Notes to editors

  • 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 regulations of referendums held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000).
  • The Political Parties, Elections & Referendums Act 2000 gives the Electoral Commission other statutory responsibilities in relation to referendums. More details on our role in a referendum can be found here: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/elections/referendums
  • A list of the referendum campaigners currently registered with the Electoral Commission for the referendum on the UK Parliamentary voting system can be found here: https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/search/searchintro.aspx. Select ‘Registration search’ from left hand menu. Then select entity type ‘permitted participant’ and referendum ‘Parliamentary Voting System Referendum’.
  • The Commission has been in contact with potential campaign organisations before and throughout the registration period to explain the rules and what they need to do to apply for designation. The Commission’s guidance to campaigners on the designation process can be found here: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/guidance/resources-for-those-we-regulate/campaigners-in-referendums/
  • Campaigners could apply to be appointed lead campaigners from 16 February 2011 (the date that the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 received Royal Assent) until 15 March 2011. This timetable was specified in the Act.
  • To enable us to reach a decision on the statutory test of whether an application adequately represents those campaigning for a particular outcome, we asked applicants to provide us with the following information:
    • the organisation’s objectives
    • which other campaigners support their application
    • how they will engage others campaigning for the same outcome, if they are designated as lead campaigner
    • their campaigning plans
    • their organisational capacity