Parliamentary Election on 8 June 2017 and campaigning risks
The vote to approve the upcoming general election came on the same day as the Electoral Commission announcing fines for Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace for breaking campaigning rules during the 2015 general election.
Greenpeace was fined £30,000 for failing to register with the Electoral Commission and Friends of the Earth was fined £1,000 for registering late.
The Lobbying Act requires that any non-party campaigner intending to spend £20,000 in England or £10,000 in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland must register with the Electoral Commission. Guidance on this can be found on the Electoral Commission’s website.
Both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have described the law as “unworkable”, and the former viewed their actions as conscious civil disobedience. Lord Hodgson had been commissioned to review the Lobbying Act which NCVO’s blog summarises but none of the recommendations have been implemented so far.
From our work with campaigning groups and other charities that are involved in lobbying, we recognise that compliance can be a challenge. Any Charities planning on campaigning in the 2017 general election should review the Charity Commission’s guidance on elections which can be found here.
For more information and support please contact Sudhir Singh, Head of Not for Profit sector team