The Muslim Public Affairs Committee‘s (MPAC) campaigning for Labour has been reported to the Electoral Commission and they have been put on legal notice to answer concerns over its possible breaches of election, election finance and data protection laws.
MPAC will also be reported to the police and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if it does not give a satisfactory response to a seven-page legal letter sent on behalf of the new Campaign for Ballot Integrity, chaired by former Labour MP John Woodcock.
- The legal action comes after questions were raised about MPAC’s apparently irregular and potentially illegal activities in the General Election, including: why the group has not registered with the Electoral Commission as a non-party campaigner, despite publicly attempting to raise at least £20,000 and indicating it intends to campaign in 14 constituencies;
- Whether it is authorised to incur targeted spending by the Labour Party;
- Whether it has complied with electoral law on spending limits, particularly in relation to constituency spending;
- Whether it has been authorised by election agents to incur expenses on behalf of any candidate in the constituencies in which it is campaigning;
- Whether it is using paid canvassers, illegally;
- What personal data it is processing, on behalf of whom and whether it has consent to do so;
MPAC’s pro-Labour and constituency-focused campaign activity is on the public record. MPAC’s website explicitly states it is targeting and seeking to unseat Conservative candidates in at least 14 constituencies, part of its ‘Operation Muslim Vote 2019’. It admits to activities in Bolton West; Chingford & Woodford Green; Chipping Barnet; Harrow East; Hastings & Rye; Milton Keynes, North; Milton Keynes South; Pendle; Pudsey; Reading West; Southampton Itchen; Stoke-on-Trent South; Uxbridge & Ruislip South and Wycombe.
MPAC’s support for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party is overt:
“The Tories have ignored and actively side-lined all Muslim organisations that have criticised them. They have zero interest in addressing Muslim concerns. We need to kick them out. And we can, but only if we are organised. This General Election is our time to get them out of power and replace them with a Corbyn-led government.”
Chairman of the Campaign for Ballot Integrity, the former Labour MP, John Woodcock says:
“MPAC’s activities at this election give cause for serious concern over its compliance with registration, campaign finance and data laws. We rightly have strong electoral law so that we have a fair playing field at our elections. Given public concern that the electoral process is increasingly subject to improper interference, swift action must be taken to ensure the integrity of this general election. The public will be concerned to hear about the allegations of antisemitism which have also been made against this group. The new Campaign for Ballot Integrity, which I am proud to Chair, will be taking robust and immediate action to call out, question and challenge any illegal or improper activity which has become apparent through the course of the general election campaign, including but not limited to taking legal action in the courts. Today’s action against MPAC is the beginning of the fightback against electoral wrongdoing that has gone unchallenged for too long.”
The Campaign for Ballot Integrity is a non-partisan initiative that opposes electoral malpractice and campaigns for the integrity of elections. Woodcock is encouraging anyone with evidence of electoral malpractice to contact the relevant authorities and inform them by emailing: email@example.com
Download legal letter [PDF]