Electoral Commission opens applications for EU Referendum lead campaigner designation
Groups and individuals intending to apply for designation as the lead campaign for either outcome in the EU Referendum are now able to submit applications to the Electoral Commission during the four-week application period as of 4 March.
One lead campaign can represent each side of the referendum debate, acting as the lead group on behalf of those campaigning for that outcome.
Bob Posner, Director of Party and Electoral Finance & Legal Counsel at the Electoral Commission said:
"We will be running a fair, open and transparent process for designating lead campaigners. It is important that any campaigner applying for designation carefully reads our guidance before submitting their final application as we will be basing our decision purely on the evidence provided within it."
Any registered campaigners who wish to apply to be a lead campaigner will have until 31 March to compile and submit their applications to the Commission. Campaigners seeking to apply for designation as a lead campaigner can read the Commission's guidance andapplication form which provide information about the assessment and decision criteria.
Following the end of this application period, the statutory deadline for the Commission to appoint lead campaigners is 14 April 2016, which is the day before the start of the referendum period. The referendum period is the statutory period in the run up to a referendum poll when the majority of the regulatory controls on campaigners apply, including the spending limits. The Commission will make its decisions on whether and if so which campaign group to designate on one or each side of the referendum outcome, as soon as practicable within the period from 1 to 14 April.
The Commission must apply certain statutory tests when designating lead campaign groups in the run up to the EU Referendum. These tests provide that, if there is only one applicant for an outcome, the Commission will designate them unless it is not satisfied that they adequately represent those campaigning for that outcome. If there is more than one applicant, the Commission will designate whichever of the applicants appears to the Commission to represent to the greatest extent those campaigning for that outcome.
The European Union Referendum Act 2015 allows the Electoral Commission to designate lead campaign groups on both sides of the debate or for one side only.
The benefits of being a lead campaigner are:
- A higher spending limit of £7 million
- One free distribution of information to voters
- The use of certain public rooms
- Referendum campaign broadcasts
- A grant of up to £600,000 to be used for certain spending including the administration costs associated with setting up and running a referendum campaign and the costs associated with the TV broadcasts and free mailing to voters that they are entitled to as lead campaigners
In addition to these statutory benefits, lead campaign groups can have:
- A dedicated page in the Commission's public information booklet which will be distributed to all households in the UK (in both English language and bilingual English/Welsh language versions)
- The inclusion in the booklet of a link to a page on the campaigner's website, which should include their opinion on what will happen in the event of either referendum result
The Act states that the Commission can designate a lead campaigner on only one side of the referendum if is unable to designate lead campaigners for both outcomes.
If a lead campaign group is appointed on only one side of the referendum then that campaigner does not receive the grant of up to £600,000, the referendum campaigner broadcasts, or the content in the Commission's public awareness booklet or the link in the booklet to the campaigner's website.
The Electoral Commission will publish all applications for designated lead campaigner status and the reasons for its decision in the interests of transparency.
For more information please contact:
Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704
Out of office hours 07789 920414
Notes to editors
- The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK's democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections.
- The Electoral Commission has specific responsibilities and functions in relation to the delivery and regulation of referendums held under PPERA, which applies to any referendum Bill brought before the UK Parliament unless specifically stated otherwise. For more information see our website.
- The application form for lead campaigner status is available on the Commission's website along with guidance for campaigners and the assessment matrix to be used by the Commission in its decision-making.
- The benefits of registration as a non-lead campaigner for the EU Referendum, including the spending limits for political parties are outlined here.
Latest News from
Less than a week to go to register to vote in the National Assembly for Wales by-election in Alyn and Deeside16/01/2018 16:05:00
With less than a week to go until the deadline to register to vote in the National Assembly for Wales by-election in the Alyn and Deeside constituency, Flintshire County Council is urging residents to make sure they are registered in time.
Electoral Commission statement regarding Momentum08/12/2017 15:05:00
The Electoral Commission yesterday announced it has opened an investigation to establish whether Momentum, a registered non-party campaigner at the 2017 UK Parliamentary General Election, breached campaign finance rules in relation to spending.
UK General Election was well-run, but electoral system faces serious risks07/12/2017 16:25:00
June’s UK general election was administered well by local Returning Officers, but the warning signs of an increasingly under-resourced electoral system cannot be ignored, a new report published yesterday by the Electoral Commission concludes.
Latest figures for GB political party donations and loans borrowing published24/11/2017 16:15:00
Seven political parties registered in Great Britain reported accepting a total of more than £6 million in donations between 1 July and 30 September 2017 – the first quarterly reporting period after the UK Parliamentary general election - according to new figures published yesterday.
Transparency of political finance in Northern Ireland24/11/2017 13:15:00
The Electoral Commission yesterday expressed its disappointment that it remains unable to publish the details of political donations and loans in Northern Ireland, because the UK Government has not yet made the necessary legislation.