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Chair responds to today's Electoral Commission report

17 July 2018

Chair's comment

Chair of the DCMS Committee, Damian Collins MP, responds to Electoral Commission report this morning:

“The DCMS Committee's inquiry into Fake News heard evidence alleging collusion between the BeLeave and Vote Leave, and today the Electoral Commission has said it is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that all Mr Grimes' and BeLeave's spending on referendum campaigning was incurred under a common plan with Vote Leave. The current maximum fine that the Electoral Commission can impose on wrongdoings in political campaigning is just £20,000, which appears to be too low to be a significant deterrent.
“Our inquiry has found that data is at the heart of modern political campaigning, and evidence to the Committee from Facebook showed that BeLeave used AggregateIQ datasets covering the “exact same audiences”.
“Electoral law in this country does not appear to be fit for purpose for the digital age, and consideration needs to be given to whether it should be amended to reflect new technologies. For example, the Electoral Commission is suggesting that all electronic campaigning have digital imprint requirements, including information on who paid for the campaigning, so that it is obvious, at a glance, who has sponsored and who has paid for that campaigning material, thereby bringing all online adverts into line with physical leaflets and adverts.
“In our forthcoming interim report on Fake News we will be considering what recommendations we can make that would strengthen the powers of bodies such as the Electoral Commission and Information Commissioner's Office to ensure we can combat fake news and disinformation in public discourse.”

Further information

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