Reform Political Advertising
Our goal is simple: electoral advertising should be regulated so that fact-based claims are accurate. We are not interested in party policy or political arguments, but we are very interested indeed when data, events and identities are manipulated, ignored or invented.
Voters agree with us: according to our 2020 YouGov research, 85% of the UK public agree that it is important “that political parties’ adverts do not make false or misleading claims.”
All major political parties have taken advantage of this lack of regulation. Put another way, politicians know they can lie in advertising, so they do. Our review of advertising in the 2019 General Election is evidence if it were needed; local and national elections in May 2021 are similarly infected by distortion and falsification.
The tide is beginning to turn: we are supported by several political parties who have signed our Pledge, but the biggest advertisers continue to exploit this illogical regulatory gap. Dishonest political advertising distorts choice and damages democracy and advertising; both deserve better.
Download our review of misleading ads in the UK’s local, mayoral, Scottish and Welsh parliamentary elections
We have no gripe with the ‘normal course of political debate’ (though a bit less of it might be agreeable) because it is, as the government itself points out, ‘regulated’ if not by rival campaigners, then certainly by political commentators and journalists and frequently ‘live’ in election periods. In other words, politicians are required to be more careful of what they say to camera, unless it’s an advertising camera, when they can and do say whatever they wish. Evidence for that is here, from our review of electoral advertising in context of the local, mayoral, Scottish and Welsh parliamentary elections on May 6th, some of which would impress Pinocchio himself.Download