• Electoral Commission Fines

    05 November 2019

    Dear Constituent,

    Thank you for contacting me about the Electoral Commission.

    The Electoral Commission has civil sanctioning powers that apply to referendums and elections. More serious criminal matters can and are referred to the police, and then considered by a court of law.  The courts already have the power to levy unlimited fines.

    It is important to remember that political parties are voluntary organisations, not massive corporates. Disproportionate regulation could discourage volunteering and undermine local democracy. 

    Political parties and referendum participants of all colours have been fined for breaches of technical reporting requirements – which suggests there is a need to assess whether current timetables and processes are fair, manageable and reasonable.

    Fines have been levied on multiple groups on both sides of the 2016 referendum campaigns for technical breaches, just as political parties have faced after elections. But none of these were material to the final referendum result. Indeed, the courts have thrown out a number of legal challenges to the referendum. Remain groups still outspent Leave groups by £6 million in the referendum.

    With 17.4 million votes to leave the European Union, more people voted for Brexit than have ever voted for anything else in the UK. Almost three quarters of the electorate took part in the referendum. The result was a bigger popular vote than won by any government in history. The will of the British people must be respected and delivered. Politicians don’t get to choose which votes they respect.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mel Stride MP

    MP for Central Devon