Monday, 14 April 2014

The Devil Wears Purdah

It's now official, the 2014 local election has been formally announced in Sutton which means, as of today (Monday 14th April), we are officially in a period of time called Purdah (also known as the pre-election period.)

This means two things. The first is that Sutton Council officers must not do anything which suggests they endorse any candidate of party. This also means the council cannot make announcements about any new or controversial initiatives which could be seen to be advantageous to any candidates or parties.

It also means that parties and candidates are now a bit more restricted in what they can do. For instance, any publication created by a party or candidate which promotes the party or candidate must have an 'imprint' on it. That is the (usually very tiny) information on political leaflets telling you who authorised and printed it. It also means that the money spent on any such promotion needs to be accounted for as election expenses. There is a strict limit on how much money can be spent by any party during the pre-election period. It's something like £500 per ward plus 5p per voter. Anything that comes through your door from any political party or candidate on or after toady must be included in this figure. (It's not about when it's printed, it's about when it's used.)

This also affects me and the blog. As many blog readers are aware, I was asked by the Conservatives to stand as a candidate in Worcester Park ward. So anything I write here is subject to these rules as well. Mainly this means that I have to make sure that I include the Conservative imprint (as seen below) on anything that mentions politics, political parties, candidates or anything related to them.

It also makes it more difficult to buy a round at the pub (excuses excuses)! I now can't 'give a gift' (including the shouting of a pint) to anyone who it a voter in Worcester Park. It is an offence known as 'treating the electorate' and could be seen as buying votes.

So from now until the election results are announced in the wee small hours of Friday 23rd May, we candidates all have to play by the Purdah period rules...

Promoted by Ranulph Murray, on behalf of Sutton Borough Conservatives Federation, both of 2a Sutton Court Road, Sutton, SM1 4SY.