Sunday, 22 May 2011

Reply regarding Hope not Hate leaflet

In the run-up to the May elections, residents of East Goscote Ward received a distasteful leaflet impugning the BNP candidate, Cathy Duffy by deceitful insinuation. Cathy duly complained about this, and received the following reply:-

Complaint from Cllr Catherine Duffy
RE the Hope not Hate campaign leaflet

I understand that the complaint was made by Cllr Duffy regarding a leaflet and a letter which was sent to a Ms Pizer but not Cllr Duffy.

Having examined the items, my advice is that no illegal practices /offences or breach of rules have occurred as a result of the publication and circulation of the Hope not Hate leaflet. That advice is base on the following research:

Representation of the Peoples Act 1983

Sections 106 and 110 of the RPA 1983 are the appropriate sections of the act dealing with circumstances where election material contains false statements about a candidate and the prescribe rules relating to the publication of election material designed to promote candidates.
s106 – creates an offence if a person makes untrue statements about the conduct or character of a candidate for office in the elections. The Hope not Hate leaflet is not published by or on behalf of a political party standing in opposition to a candidate but by a campaign/lobby group with no political allegiance. It does not mention Cllr Duffy by name nor does it make any statements which could be said to be about her character or conduct specifically. In my view is not about Cllr Duffy but what Hope not Hate considers the BNP stands for generally. In terms of s106 therefore since it does not mention her by name nor say anything that could be said to be a statement about her character or conduct no offence has been committed under Section 106. This section refers to false statements concerning a candidate’s character or conduct and seek to protect candidates from being the subject of such statements. It does not confer any such protection on a party of which a candidate may be a member. My view is that s106 does not apply to the Hope not Hate leaflet.

In terms of s110 this focuses on publicity material designed to promote a candidate with a view to procuring their election. It sets out the prescribed information that all such material must contain. The Hope not Hate leaflet does not seek to promote any candidate at all and therefore in my view does not appear to be covered by s110.

I cannot see that there is any breach of any rules or any offence committed by those who have circulated this Hope not Hate leaflet.

Christine Taylor LLB Hons Solicitor
Deputy Returning Officer

Cllr. Duffy's complaint was made on behalf of ladies in her ward, as they were particularly targeted; some informed Cllr. Duffy as the targetting made them feel vulnerable and upset, while others contacted Hope not Hate to express their disgust.

The result of this particular leafletting did not have the desired effect, and must have left a sour taste in the mouths of Hate not Hope. Due to this hate mail, and because the residents know and admire her, Cllr. Duffy received an increased vote and was returned to the seat. Never underestimate the sympathy of the sisterhood!

1 comment:

Cecil Kenneth said...

Given it was a two horse race against Yvonne, surely the fact that it could compromise Cathy's vote means it was promoting Yvonne's vote?