We need a comprehensive review and overhaul of our electoral law, to make it future-proofed for the digital age.
- Legislation to extend ‘imprints’ – where leaflets must show who produced them and on whose behalf – to online political advertising must be tabled.
- Campaigners should report social media spend separately, in a digital format, in real time during a campaign.
- Create a single online database of political adverts
- The Electoral Commission’s paltry £20,000 maximum fine for rule-breaking should be uncapped.
- We must establish a statutory code of practice for political parties and campaigners without delay.
Transparency must be the rule, not the exception. The government need to act now.
Micro targeting online adverts means you get political adverts tailored to your interests. But, as you only see the adverts targeted at you, it means campaigners can promise different, opposing, things to different people.
The Government's proposals are an important first step, but as yet, there is no timeline for introducing the policy. Another consultation risks kicking the issue even further into the long grass, especially considering that the government first committed to introducing digital imprints in May 2019, following a previous consultation.
We can’t leave political transparency to the whim of big tech firms: it’s time for a campaign overhaul.