Campaigners hit back at call to abolish ‘vital’ Electoral Commission

Posted on the 1st September 2020

Democracy experts have challenged ‘reckless’ calls from the Conservative Party to abolish the elections regulator [1], the Electoral Commission.

Responding to the proposals, Darren Hughes, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society said:

“Abolishing the Electoral Commission will do nothing to serve the needs of our democracy, at a time when it is already under threat by online disinformation, dodgy donors and dark ads.

“Instead of providing much-needed reform to our out of date and inadequate system of electoral regulation, scrapping the Commission will instead weaken it, and with it our ability to tackle growing threats posed by online political campaigning.

“What the Electoral Commission needs is the increased powers and resources, befitting a 21st regulator – to be able to tackle the challenges of the modern age.

“The very fact the Commission is forced to pass on cases to the police for investigation is down to its own lack of investigatory powers, powers already available to other regulators like the Information Commissioner.

“It is striking that we now have a regulator with substantial powers to protect data privacy, but no such resources have been granted to the regulator entrusted with protecting our democracy.

“The government has shown some commitment to protecting the integrity of our elections through the proposed introduction of online imprints but the success of this is dependent on a strong electoral regulator to enforce these reforms.

“Any move to abolish the Electoral Commission would be a dangerous backwards step, undoing much of this positive work.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/08/29/electoral-commission-should-overhauled-abolished-tory-party/

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