Missing imprint leads to conviction for Labour campaigner in Ilford

The law on imprints may be in need of updating, but it’s still the law, which is why a cautious approach to following it is wise. Especially as convictions for leaving off imprints really do happen:

A man has pleaded guilty to breaking electoral law by not providing the required details on the election campaign material of a Labour candidate during the 2017 United Kingdom Parliamentary General Election.

Matthew Goddin … appeared at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 21 June, where he admitted the offence, which is contrary to Section 110 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

The allegation relates to a four-page ‘wraparound’ advertisement featured in the Ilford Recorder newspaper on 1 June 2017.

The advertisement was placed on behalf of Mike Gapes, the Labour candidate, now re-elected as MP for Ilford South. The advert failed to contain an imprint, in breach of the legislation regarding election campaign material…

Goddin was fined £230 after pleading guilty to the offence. [Met Police news release]

What looks to have triggered the legal action is the similarity between the advert and the rest of the newspaper:

Tom Nicholson, prosecuting, told the court that a Conservative candidate had reported the advert because they were “concerned, on the face of it, it didn’t look like an advert at all”.

Nicholson said: “What that [an imprint] would help to do is demonstrate that this is an advert rather than a piece of newspaper because it presents almost as an editorial part of the newspaper. [Press Gazette]

The Press Gazette also reported that a formal caution was offered, but the offer was not responded to in time and hence the case going to court.

Here’s the advert in question:

Wes Streeteing tweet with Mike Grapes newspaper advert missing imprint

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2 responses to “Missing imprint leads to conviction for Labour campaigner in Ilford”

  1. Now that the London Evening Standard is a free newspaper and supports the Conservative party during election time, should it have a Tory imprint on it as well? Should it be included in Tory election expenses as well?

    • There are (rightly in my view) different rules for newspapers from those for items produced by candidates and parties.

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