Why is the Electoral Commission trying to make life difficult for journalists?

That’s the question that David Higgerson is asking after casting his eye over the results of various investigations into electoral expenses, and a Freedom of Information response from the Electoral Commission revealing “that it told councils there was ‘no provision in law’ for people to take notes from the expenses

“Several authorities had sought information on what to do if reporters asked to look at the documents, and the response from the Commission’s North West team was:

In the absence of any definitive legislation on this point, the prudent option is to inform the paper that ‘inspect’ does not extend to the taking of notes. To that end, if the paper wishes to look at the returns in more detail at a later date, (for what ever purpose) they should purchase a copies.

Higgerson points out that “while there is nothing in law which says people can take notes, there’s nothing in the law which says people can’t – so why make the distinction?”

More on David Higgerson’s blog here.

You can join one of the various investigations into election expenses here. If you want to start your own there’s plenty of advice on this blog – post a comment if you want help.

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