Osborne breaks election purdah laws #indyref

Don’t let me be last Queen of Scotland: Monarch in talks with PM over UK break-up

Her Majesty is in crisis talks with the Prime Minister as new poll reveals 51% of Scots will vote for independence

The Queen is said to be privately horrified at the prospect of Scotland voting for independence from the UK.

It is believed the referendum – which could make the monarch the last Queen of Scotland – dominated her discussions with Prime Minister David Cameron on his annual visit to Balmoral at the weekend.

The growing panic over the break-up of the UK was fuelled by a YouGov poll which put the nationalist Yes campaign ahead by 51% to 49%.

Buckingham Palace aides said the Queen had asked for daily updates on the state of the campaigns.

A source said yesterday: “The Queen is a unionist, there is now a great deal of concern.

“If there is a Yes vote that puts us into uncharted territory constitutionally . Nothing is certain and her being Queen of Scotland is not a given.”

YouGov found the nationalists had clawed back a 22-point lead held by the Better Together campaign at the start of August.

Nationalist leader Alex Salmond’s private polling reportedly put his campaign ahead 54% to 46%.

In London, George Osborne tried to win over voters flirting with ­independence by ­promising to publish within days a cross-party plan to offer more powers to Edinburgh if Scotland stays in the UK.

This would including handing more tax-raising powers and control over welfare to the Scottish Parliament. – read more HERE

Incidentally, she is not queen of Scotland but Queen of Scots and Queen of England.

Purdah (pre-election period)

The purdah period typically begins six weeks before the scheduled election, in each authority on the day the notice of election is published; for the 2014 local and European elections purdah will begin in many authorities on Monday 7 April.

Purdah does not have actual legal force, rather is considered a ‘self-denying ordinance’, and has considerable moral authority; because of the lack of statute different local authorities adopt different standards as to the extent to which they observe the convention, and authorities are always mindful of the possibility of results and decisions being open to challenge in the event of a breach of purdah.

When local elections are being held at the same time as a general election a higher standard is usually applied.

At the national level, major decisions on policy are postponed until after the purdah period, unless it is in the national interest to proceed or a delay would waste public money.

The Cabinet Office issues guidance before each election to civil servants, including those in the devolved national parliaments and assemblies.

Purdah also continues after the election during the time in which new MPs and ministers are sworn in.

In the event of an inconclusive election result, purdah does not end until a new government forms.

When no party has an overall majority, it may take some time before a minority or coalition government is formed.

Local Government

For local elections, the activities of local authorities in the pre-election period are governed by the Code of recommended practice on local authority publicity, which is issued as part of the provisions of the Local Government Act 1986.

Elections, referendums and petitions
41. The period between the notice of an election and the election itself should preclude proactive publicity in all its forms of candidates and other politicians involved directly in the election.
Publicity should not deal with controversial issues or report views, proposals or recommendations in such a way that identifies them with individual members or groups of members.
However, it is acceptable for the authority to respond in appropriate circumstances to events and legitimate service enquiries provided that their answers are factual and not party political.
Members holding key political or civic positions should be able to comment in an emergency or where there is a genuine need for a member level response to an important event outside the authority’s control.
Proactive events arranged in this period should not involve members likely to be standing for election.
42. The Local Authorities (Referendums) (Petitions and Directions) (England) Regulations 2000 [REPEALED] (which apply under the Local Government Act 2000 to county councils, district councils and London borough councils) prohibit an authority from incurring any expenditure to
  • Publish material which appears designed to influence local people in deciding whether or not to sign a petition requesting a referendum on proposals for an elected mayor;
  • Assist anyone else in publishing such material; or
  • Influence or assist others to influence local people in deciding whether or not to sign a petition.
Publicity in these circumstances should, therefore, be restricted to the publication of factual details which are presented fairly about the petition proposition and to explaining the council’s existing arrangements.
Local authorities should not mount publicity campaigns whose primary purpose is to persuade the public to hold a particular view in relation to petitions generally or on a specific proposal.

Purdah in local government ends at the annual meeting of the council in the new municipal year (usually the first full council meeting after the election) when the appointment of a new executive by the leader occurs

Referendum on Elected Mayors

In the 2012 referendum on elected mayors for the core cities of Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, and Wakefield an extra purdah restriction was introduced, namely that from April 6 councils were not be able to proactively promote the referendum by publishing articles or issuing press releases.

However, public information in the form of questions and answers was still permitted to be on the council’s website, and press officers were able to respond to enquiries from the media.

Purdah and Social Media

In the United Kingdom general election, 2010, specific guidance was issued about the use of social media, for example “Use of Twitter may continue for publishing factual information only in line with guidance on news media”




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.