If the Electoral Commission will not do their job and ask the difficult questions of the ODPM, then we will. We may have to go back down the legal route again, but it is important that this is exposed in advance of any referendum on the European Constitution. The rules MUST be clear, and since the Electoral Commission is spineless and useless, it is down to members of the public.
The ODPM, because there is a referendum very imminent have a duty to respond within 24 hours, especially as we are a Permitted Participant in the referendum.
Below is the e-mail sent Friday afternoon.
Regional Assembly Division
1 / A6 Eland House
15th October 2004
Further to our telephone conversation this afternoon at 2pm (15th October) I would be grateful if you would clarify in writing the points that you made.
The concerns that we are raising at the No Campaign are that Ministers have been speaking out on the subject urging a Yes vote in breach of the Purdah period.
If, as you say, they are speaking in a 'political' capacity as Labour MP's or in a personal capacity, we would like to have full details of who paid their travel expenses, were there extra police costs incurred and were they engaged in any other Ministerial business while they were here in the North East.
We can provide full details of the meetings that they spoke at, tv broadcasts and interviews given and the 'titles' by which they were described, and it was not as 'Labour MP for x'
I trust, because of the gravity of the situation, and the fact that it could be construed that the referendum has potentially been compromised, and will no longer be seen as a 'free and fair' referendum, you will treat this with the utmost urgency, as it may be the case that either ourselves, or more appropriately, the Electoral Commission, will consider that this matter should be dealt with by the courts.
Could you please provide details of your complaints and investigation procedures should it appear there has been a misuse of ministerial finances, and provide direct contact details for Andrew Turnbull, Head of Civil Service and Mavis Mc Donald, Permanent Secretary to the ODPM.
North East No Campaign
48 Frederick Street
Tel. 0191 565 7143
Tel. 0191 514 4606
Mob. 07776 202045
cc. Douglas Stewart, Head of Referendums, Electoral Commission.
cc. Bernard Jenkin, Shadow Regions Minister
cc. Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph
cc. Ross Smith, Newcastle Journal
cc. Philip Coppell, 4-5 Gray's Inn Square, Gray's Inn, London.
cc. Robin Tilbrook, Tilbrook's and Commissioners for Oaths
cc. John Elliott, Chairman North East Says No
Sunday, October 17, 2004
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