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Electoral advertising regulation will now likely be included in a Bill in parliament.

Electoral advertising regulation will now likely be included in a Bill in parliament.

Alex Tait
July 02, 2022
Liz Saville Roberts presenting her Bill in the House of Commons.

The momentum behind regulation to prevent lies in electoral advertising continues. 

For it to continue we need your support. We are the only organisation in the UK campaigning for electoral advertising regulation to prevent lies in electoral ads. We are politically neutral, not for profit and rely on unpaid volunteers. We need donations to cover our operational costs. If you feel as passionately as we do about the need for regulation to prevent ads like the £350 million Brexit bus please consider donating here. It will make a difference.

Last week Liz Saville Roberts MP, parliamentary leader for Plaid Cymru, presented a Bill aimed at ending the lying and dishonesty in politics. The Bill, which has cross-party support, would, if enacted, make deliberate lying by a politician an offence under the law.

We are very grateful to her for including our campaign’s work in her excellent speech in the House of Commons this week. You can watch her speech in full here.

Whilst this is clearly wider than our campaign goal of introducing regulation to prevent lies in electoral ads it would cover this area.

Indeed, Liz directly referenced the need to ensure honesty in electoral advertising when she presented her Bill to parliament and she made reference to the precedent of the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority which has had ad regulation in place for decades.

This came off the back of a briefing by the New Zealand ASA Chief Executive Hilary Souter to parliamentarians organised by Reform Political Advertising last year. You can see her talking about how it works at our briefing here

So what happens now?

The Bill passed it’s first reading – essentially the stage when it is presented and so will go to second reading in October. At that stage Liz and her colleagues will present a full and finalised version of the Bill for debate and voting. 

It is always difficult for a Bill introduced by an individual member to pass and be implemented. However, MPs we’ve been speaking to are increasingly very supportive of the concept of electoral ad regulation and this certainly helps raise its profile further within Parliament. We can also give it the best chance of being passed if we lobby and convince as many MPs as possible to support it – work we will be asking for your help with in the coming weeks and months. 

Liz has already secured the backing of MPs from Labour, the SNP, Lib Dems, Greens, SDLP, Alliance, and Alba. And outside parliament polling by Compassion in Politics found that 3 in 4 people support this proposal (and that includes 3 in 4 Conservative supporters).

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