Sunday, September 19, 2004

Legal Challenge...Complaint to the Electoral Commission

Frederick Street, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear SR1 1NF
16th September 2004
Dear Sir,

Referendum on a Regional Assembly in the North East

Leaflet issued by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

I enclose for your information copies of a formal complaint which I have made to the National Audit Office concerning the advertisements and leaflet issued by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister prior to the referendum in the North East on regional government. There has been a clear misuse of public money. My initial complaint was made on 7th September; I have advised the National Audit Office of further inaccuracies today.

Members of your staff have seen copies of the leaflet and advertisements during their visits to the region.

I have written to the ODPM to ask who authorised the distribution of the adverts and leaflet.

It is now too late for the ODPM to correct the misleading information which has been circulated to every house in the North East; your staff made it clear at their public meetings in the region that no further literature would be issued by the government in the period starting 28 days prior to the ballot papers going out on 18th October.

I do not see how the referendum can go ahead on 4th November: voters cannot be asked to make a decision when they have been furnished with such inaccurate information – at best, misleading and at worst, complete lies.

The situation is clearly urgent and I shall be obliged for your comments at an early date; please also let me know what action you propose to take.

Yours faithfully,

Judith Wallace
Chairman, North East No Campaign

The Chairman,
The Electoral Commission,
Trevelyan House,
Cc Douglas Stewart, Electoral Commission

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