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Misleading political ad spotted, shamed and pulled

Benedict Pringle

A Conservative Party advert has been shown to be misleading and has been removed. This is an excellent example of the sort of process that needs to be enshrined in law.

The Conservative Party have been running an advertisement on Facebook which contained the claim that the government were giving a “£14 billion pound cash boost for schools”.

Some of the versions of the ad included a link to a BBC News article on the announcement of the extra cash, but in that story the figure “£7bn over the next three years” was used.

Leading independent factchecking charity FullFact investigated and found the claim to be misleading.

The BBC has since reported on the disingenuous claim and the Conservative Party have now removed the advertising.

We are delighted with this result and it is an example of the sort of process that we are hoping to enshrine in law.

A political content regulator needs to be established which can hold campaigners to account for the truthfulness of factual claims and this organisation must have the power to remove political advertising which is shown to be misleading.

On this occasion, a combination of charities and journalists worked together to raise the issue and the party in question behaved honourably and removed the ad.

But it isn’t and won’t always be the case that falsehoods are spotted and political campaigns are willing to play ball, which is why the time has come for reforming the laws which govern political advertising.

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