This May sees a huge round of elections in Britain – from Holyrood to Cardiff Bay, the London Assembly and local elections in big swathes of England.
Thousands of candidates will be standing – and as misinformation and unregulated ‘dark ads’ spread across the globe, we’re calling on them to play fair.
We are living in the digital age but the rules that govern our democracy have not been updated in decades.
Our Democracy in the Dark report – written by two of the UK’s leading election finance academics – revealed a major rise in online spending during the 2019 general election – with little transparency over how it was used.
We also saw widespread reports of misleading campaigning, with campaigns sometimes not who they purported to be. We can’t have a repeat of that.
So in the absence of sensible regulation (the government has yet to bring forward a timeline for political ad transparency), we’re urging all candidates at this May’s elections to sign the new ‘Fair Play Pledge’ and commit to:
- Campaign openly
- Financial fair play
- Campaign respectfully.
- Respect privacy.
- Champion defending and enhancing our democracy if elected.
We created the Fair Play Pledge with a coalition of equally concerned democracy organisations: Fair Vote UK, Compassion in Politics, Unlock Democracy, Open Rights Group, Global Witness, Centenary Action Group, Foxglove, Who Targets Me, The Citizens & Clean up the Internet.
We should not be the ones having to do this, but our democracy needs new rules, to ensure voters aren’t left in the dark as to who is steering our political debate.
While campaigning honestly and respectfully should be a given, we know that’s sometimes not the case. Join us at 12pm 7th of April – featuring local government hero Jackie Weaver – and tell candidates to sign the Fair Play Pledge.
It’s time to update our elections’ standing orders, update them and understand them…