Second Contact

The Chief Electoral Officer followed up his phone call of 30 August with a letter dated 2 September to Mike Smith, Labour’s General Secretary.

The two page letter sets out that the Chief Electoral Officer believes the pledge card and pamhlets are election advertising, because:

* they have the same logo and the same slogan as Labour’s campaign advertising
* It makes commitments in respect of the future
* It is being distributed within three weeks of Elecion Day

Hence the CEO concludes “the statements made in the advertising encourage or persuade, or appear to encourage or persuade, voters to vote for the Labour Party” and hence “The advertising is therefore subject to the provisions of Section 221”.

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The final part of the letter is shown here. In it you see the CEO specifically warns Labour that this may be referred to the Police as an illegal practice, and that he also regards the advertising as an election expense under Section 214B.

So at this stage Labour can have no doubt about the view of the top electoral official, and could have adjusted their campaign accordingly.

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