Skip to main content

Election Guidance

Volume 736: debated on Thursday 20 July 2023

3. Whether the Electoral Commission has issued recent guidance on elections to political parties and candidates. (906087)

The commission regularly publishes guidance for political parties, candidates and non-party campaigners to help them comply with their legal obligations. It recently submitted for ministerial and parliamentary approval draft statutory guidance on digital imprints and a draft code of practice for non-party campaigners. These will support parties and campaigners to understand and prepare for challenges introduced by the Elections Act 2022.

Is the commission preparing any guidance about this new trend we have of Members of this House, who may be candidates at the next election, being given their own TV programmes on some of the new news channels and interviewing members of the Government from their own Benches in the lead-up to a general election? What is the Electoral Commission doing about that?

I thank the hon. Member for his excellent question. The Committee has not discussed those matters with the commission as yet. The Electoral Commission does not have a role in the regulation of political or news programmes. Ofcom is responsible for regulating broadcasters and providing guidance on impartiality, but if the Member wants to take up this issue further with the commission, it would be more than happy to meet him.

Will the commission look closely at the fact that Members of this House have television programmes? I was invited on to a television programme by two Members of this House, and I did not accept that invitation. There is surely something wrong with Members in this House asking questions at the same time as they are running very political campaigns on television. What will the hon. Gentleman do about that?

The point is well made. As I have said, the Committee has not discussed this matter with the commission, but I am sure that the comments made by hon. Members will be heard. As I offered to the hon. Member for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan), I am sure that if the hon. Member for Huddersfield wanted to discuss this matter further with the commission, it would be more than happy to meet him.