Well after a protracted election contest we now have a new PM. Liz Truss has not yet shown her cards when it comes to the question of regulating electoral advertising so there is all to play for in terms of getting this issue up the agenda and on to the statute books.
Of course, just because Ms Truss hasn’t been clear on where she stands on electoral advertising doesn’t mean this kind of issue wasn’t raised (repeatedly) over the course of her election campaign. This was the ‘honesty election’. Every candidate – in an attempt no doubt to distance themselves from the record of their predecessor – talked up the degree to which they believe in honesty, truth, and accountability.
And they are right to. Polling by our friends at Compassion in Politics shows that lack of honesty is the biggest issue currently worrying voters when it comes to the culture and practice of modern politics. If our new PM and her administration have any hope of connecting with the public they will have to address this problem which is alienating the public and scoring a great hole in the foundations of our democracy.
As we have said many times before: securing the proper regulation of electoral advertising would be a simple, effective, and popular way to do that. 85% of the public agree that it is important political parties do not make misleading claims in their electoral adverts and 3 in 4 back our proposal to introduce a regulatory system for those ads.
With your help, we have already taken major strides towards our goal.
Some of our campaign’s progress to date includes:
- Creating the first ever electoral ads review panel which is now being chaired by Lord Puttnam. This is not only helping to oversee the content of electoral ads but also proves that such a system ie regulation can work.
- Getting the backing of the House of Lords Democracy and Digital Technologies committee.
- We got six of the London Mayoral candidates in 2020 to agree to our campaign pledge committing to honesty in their electoral ads (including Luisa Porritt (Liberal Democrats) and Sian Berry (The Green Party).
- We secured the official backing of the Green Party for electoral advertising regulation and have made significant headway with all of the opposition parties.
- We also ran an event last year with a cross party group of MPs and the New Zealand ASA CEO Hilary Souter to explain how the precedent of electoral advertising regulation works in practice in New Zealand. It has been up and running there with all the parties bought into the system for several decades.
- Achieved significant news coverage including on BBC Breakfast, 5 Live, BBC News, and Daily Politics.
To continue and build on our success and achieve our mission of regulating electoral advertising, we are now looking to raise £5000.
- Mean we are fully prepared for a potential general election and can launch a nationwide campaign to convince candidates to back our campaign.
- Ensure we can continue to brief MPs – particularly MPs in opposition parties – and bring them over to our growing lobby of support. This is vitally important as almost every opposition MP we speak to supports the idea of electoral ad regulation.
Please donate what you can here. With your help, we will be able to finally ensure that electoral advertising is honest, transparent, and accountable.
If you’d like to find out more about the campaign and what your donation will be spent on please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to set up a zoom to discuss it with you.
Co-Founder, Reform Political Advertising.