Imprints on online political ads?

Do you remember Bingo graphic that Grant Shapps tweeted last month, which not only went viral but attracted a lot of parodies?

At the time nobody commented on the fact that the ad did not have an imprint. Party activists all know that any printed political literature must have a ‘Published, promoted and printed …’ imprint on it, and not having one can be a criminal offence during election time. And yet there is no such requirement for online ads.

Andy Williamson, founder of FutureDigital, had highlighted this to the Guardian for an article on online political ads:

Infographics have become an extraordinarily fashionable way of communicating dubious information. They blur the boundaries between formality and informality. It’s very hard to know if some of them are authorised.

All the main parties have produced similar ads, though some of them are simply produced by members of the public (who may be party members) for their own amusement and are not in any way official party products.

Lib Dem Voice’s former editor, Mark Pack, is deeply interested in electoral law, so he was the natural person for the Guardian to turn to for a response:

It’s been over a decade since the Electoral Commission recommended updating the imprint rules. It’s absurd that it still hasn’t happened.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in News.


  • The imprint issue was raised via Twitter on the night of publication. After the brou-ha-ha over the lobbying bill, some of us are rather sensitive to such questions. With or without a requirement to place an imprint on official material there is huge scope for dispute in this area around election times..

  • Also, if every tweet had to have an imprint on, you’d have about 3 characters left to actually say anything. Rules need updating for online engagement.

  • The “imprint” for tweets could be a required part of the official accounts’ profile.

  • What’s absurd is 4 page printed leaflets with the imprint in the middle of the back page in 6pt type and which doesn’t otherwise explicitly state it is party produced.

  • I object more to the leaflets that are produced that carry no party name on them !

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 4th Jun - 12:27pm
    In the leadership campaign last year, Ed very much focused on his family. His leaflets were full of pictures of his children. From this video,...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 4th Jun - 12:26pm
    @ Matthew, I agree that the Labour Party has lost touch with the working class generally. Maybe not quite as badly as the Lib Dems...
  • User AvatarGeoff Reid 4th Jun - 12:17pm
    David Franks - I think Jo Grimond attracted me with his serious irreverence as he challenged the Labour/Tory establishment with his posh voice. Some of...
  • User AvatarPaul Murray 4th Jun - 12:11pm
    Nope, no email to me either although the party did successfully manage to take a direct debit for my membership last week.
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 4th Jun - 12:09pm
    @ Frank, I’m guessing that you’ve never stopped to consider who provides schools, local infrastructure, roads, and the panoply of things you clearly don’t care...
  • User AvatarManfarang 4th Jun - 12:06pm
    Frank West Personally I have paid for education courses in the UK while I have been living abroad. This an example of how those Brits...