Posted by: westlancashirerecord | May 3, 2018

Criminal Misinformation?

It can be a criminal offence under the Representation of the People Act (RPA) 1983 to make a false statement of fact (as opposed to an opinion) under rules relating to the publication and circulation of election leaflets.

A possible case occurred in West Lancashire recently when the matter of the Conservative Derby ward leaflet contained two statements, one being the candidate having a plan to “Work with County’s Conservative Administration to deliver a much needed Ormskirk Bypass” and one already apparently achieved as stated by Councillor David Westley Leader of the Conservative Group on West Lancashire Borough Council that ”The Conservatives have…re-instated the plan for an Ormskirk Bypass”.

But this was clearly in direct contradiction of the truth, because LCC Cllr Iddon, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport wrote to a Derby ward resident that “I can indeed confirm that the Ormskirk Bypass is not part of the county council’s plans for managing the transport network in West Lancashire. I trust you will find this information useful” .

It is hard to imagine how one leaflet, edited here  in which the “Agent” and the “Leader of the Conservative Group on West Lancashire Borough Council” being one and the same person can claim the subject of the Ormskirk Bypass differs from the true, LCC, stated position.

Just for clarity as to whether or not an offence occurred under RPA, could an election now take place in the Derby Ward, and had the integrity of the WLBC electoral system been compromised, legal advice suggests that the offence referred to relates to the making of false statements in regard to candidates but not to the campaign more generally. The matter of the campaigning material would not appear to fall within the scope of the offence.

More a matter of political misinformation to gain votes then? Probably.


Responses

  1. Am I right in thinking that the ‘restoring’ and ‘reopening’ of things was due to them having been slashed due to cuts in funding from central (tory) government? Has Theresa’s Magic Money Tree (that doesn’t exist, apparently) borne more fruit?

    • Probably. There is no “magic money tree” in a country that is £1.56 trillion in debt. That is 81.5% of total GDP and servicing that costs £43 billion a year. The debt grows at a staggering £5,170 per second. Some economists reckon the true debt, factoring in all liabilities including state and public sector pensions, is closer to £4.8 trillion, some £78,000 for every person in the UK. But how can we find the truth from any political party?


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