Political Advertising
Political Advertising

Thank you for contacting me about political advertising and electoral law.

I absolutely agree that electoral law for the modern campaigning environment must be updated. I think it is vital that we protect our democracy from those seeking to sow disinformation and discord.

Online political campaigning has been referred to as an “unbridled Wild West” by the Electoral Reform Society. It is calling for a comprehensive review of our campaign laws.

Back in February 2019, I welcomed the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s ground-breaking report on disinformation and “fake news”. It noted that our current electoral laws were written before social media as we know it, and further found that electoral law is not fit for purpose and needs to reflect online micro-targeted political campaigning.

I was pleased to see the report recommended immediate reform of electoral law and the introduction of regulation to cover digital campaigning. It also recommended that all electronic campaigning should have easily-accessible digital imprint requirements.

I am committed to preventing the online world from becoming a haven for hate. The era of self-regulation for tech companies must end immediately. I support the introduction of a set of Digital Democracy Guarantees, covering security, transparency and education.

I believe these platforms must be made to take responsibility for the harms, hate speech and fake news they host.

The upcoming Online Safety Bill offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to target dangerous elements of the Internet that have real world consequences.

We need effective, fit-for-purpose legislation that cracks down on the harms, hate and fake news that flourishes online. It is vital we protect young and vulnerable people from online harms.

I have long argued that the legislation should contain criminal sanctions for senior tech executives who repeatedly breach the new law, and therefore welcome the Government’s commitment to this. However, I believe they must be contained within the Bill as a default.

I can assure you that I will press the Government at every opportunity to protect our elections from cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns.

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