Electoral Commission should condemn these misleading Tory leaflets

Postal Votes
27 April 2023

Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West
I think the Speaker’s Committee should have discussions about this issue. Has my hon. Friend seen some recent examples of Conservative party leaflets, where people are being encouraged to return postal vote applications to Tory headquarters rather than back to the local authority, and where millions of people are being disenfranchised through lack of voter ID? Leaflets have also gone out—in Norwich, for example—saying that people do not need ID to vote. Should not the Electoral Commission take the view that although such practices may technically be legal, they are in fact harmful to our democracy?

Cat Smith Labour, Lancaster and Fleetwood
The code of conduct is of course voluntary, but the code of conduct for campaigners states that parties can provide applications for postal votes but the forms must include the address for the electoral registration officer as the preferred address, even if an alternative address is provided. Campaigners should send on any application forms they receive to the relevant address within two working days, and the commission recommends that any concerns that the code has been breached should be raised first with the candidate, political party or campaigner in question, and any further concerns should be drawn to the attention of the commission. The commission is aware of the Conservative party leaflet in Norwich and has had conversations with the party.