Local Government: Elections

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered on 1st March 2022.

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Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Conservative, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of the safety and security of independent council candidates in the context of the requirement to provide a visible address on election literature in local authority elections.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister for Equalities, Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (jointly with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Imprints are required on any printed election material, including that of independent candidates at local elections, to provide voters with the level of transparency they rightly expect about who is campaigning. The imprint requirement also supports the rules on campaign spending limits. The requirement to include an address as part of the imprint is important to enable the police and the courts to enforce the rules relating to candidate election material with legal certainty.

The safety of election campaigners and candidates is our utmost priority. For this reason, while candidates must use a postal address where they can be contacted, a range of addresses are permitted under the imprint rules. Therefore, candidates have alternative options if they feel uncomfortable publishing their home address on printed election material. As outlined in Electoral Commission guidance, this can be an office or business address. Candidates may also use a PO Box address or other mailbox service.

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