A reminder to political campaigners to remember to include imprints in their literature:
The Electoral Commission has fined Mr Laurence Taylor £4,000 for failing to include the proper identification details (called ‘an imprint’) on a newspaper advertisement he placed during the regulated period (15 April to 23 June) for the EU referendum. It is an offence not to include an imprint on referendum material that is made available to the public during the regulated period.
Mr Taylor’s advertisement appeared in the Metro newspaper on 22 June 2016, the day before the referendum. [Electoral Commission]
The advert was an attempt to correct scare stories about immigration.
This isn’t the first fine for a missing imprint in the European referendum. Roger Gabb was fined £1,000 earlier in the year, as was Lady Sue Inkin.
Missing imprints are not always a problem, as in the recent SNP case where the Electoral Commission decided a campaigning guide was an internal publication which did not require one.
The College of Policing’s guidance on when to proceed in cases of missing imprints is pretty sensible, but the key factor is very simple: include an imprint and you don’t have any problems.
No risk of embarrassing media coverage. No risk of time spent with lawyers and the police in the middle of a busy election campaign. No risk, in other words, of all the downsides you can suffer even if you do not get prosecuted.
Be wise. Stick an imprint on it.
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