Labour PCC candidate blames incomplete legal notice on agent

John Tizard. Image: Labour Party
John Tizard. Image: Labour Party

Labour’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) candidate for Bedfordshire has said he will be “accountable and transparent” if elected and blamed an incomplete legal notice on one of his leaflets as a “matter for his agent”.

In general political parties, candidates, or campaigners are not restricted in what they say in campaign materials.

But some campaigning material, such as a printed leaflet, must include an imprint by law. This imprint must use the full address of the printer, promoter and any person on behalf of whom the material is being published.

And non-compliance with the imprint laws is a matter for the police, according to the Electoral Commission.

During an interview with the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), Labour’s candidate, John Tizard said: “I really am open to much greater scrutiny than I think is currently the case.”

With this in mind, the LDRS pointed out that one of his election leaflets had an incomplete imprint with a missing town and postcode.

“That’ll be a matter for my agent,” he replied.

The LDRS approached Labour to ask Tizard’s agent about this.

A Labour spokesperson said: “While not including a postcode in an imprint is an oversight, it pales in comparison to serious complaints upheld against the Conservative candidate.”

A spokesperson for Bedfordshire Police said: “We were made aware of campaign material for the upcoming police and crime commissioner elections that did not include ‘imprint’ details as required under electoral law.

“We have spoken to the candidate’s agent who confirmed the error has been corrected and new material issued. The agent has been provided with a letter of advice,” they said.

The LDRS put Labour’s statement to the Conservative candidate, Festus Akinbusoye.

He said: “Electoral law applies to all candidates equally, but clearly not to the Labour candidate who believes that failing to fully disclose an address on an election material is not important.

“I believe this has now been reported to the Electoral Commission and I look forward to the Labour candidate correcting, and apologising for this breach of electoral legislation.”

While Mr Akinbusoye’s campaign material has not been found to breach Electoral Commission rules, he was criticised during his Mid Bedfordshire MP campaign for dressing up his political leaflets as an independent newspaper.

A practice that is heavily criticised as ‘deceptive’ propaganda.

Read: Mid-Bedfordshire candidates “deceive the public” by using fake newspapers ahead of by-election

The four candidates to be Bedfordshire’s PCC are Waheed Akbar (Workers Party), Festus Akinbusoye (Conservative), Jas Parmar (Lib Dems) and John Tizard (Labour).

The election is on 2 May 2024.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

Update: This article was updated on 30 April 2024 at 14:27 to add a comment from Bedfordshire Police that was not received until after the original publication of this article.