150,000 signatures reached
To: Michael Gove and all political party leaders in Westminster
Increase the fines for breaking electoral law
Give the Electoral Commission the power to impose unlimited fines for breaking electoral law – so that we can deter cheating in elections, and protect our democracy
Why is this important?
Boris Johnson was the face of a political campaign (Vote Leave) that broke the law and was referred to the police for possible criminal charges.
This is far from the only instance of political parties or campaigns breaking the rules by spending way more than they’re legally allowed to. Investigations by us at openDemocracy and other journalists at the Guardian, Channel 4, Byline and elsewhere have exposed multiple abuses of the laws intended to protect our democracy.
Why? Perhaps because the punishment for cheating in UK elections is so weak.
Right now, you can be fined more for touting tickets at a football match than you can for subverting British democracy, with the max fine being £20k. The Electoral Commission imposed the maximum fine on Vote Leave – just 0.3% of its £7m budget.
Whichever way you voted on Brexit, it can’t be right that political machines with millionaire donors can break our electoral laws with impunity. Investigative journalists like us have proved a whole string of electoral law breaking. The Electoral Commission has repeatedly asked for the maximum fines they can impose to be increased. But our political leaders don’t like being held to account. And so far, they’ve refused.
We could have another election or referendum at any moment – so the Electoral Commission urgently needs more power now to guard our democracy. We must make sure fines are proportionate to how much campaigns actually spend, so they act as a real deterrent. Please sign openDemocracy's petition today and sign up to hear more about our investigations.