About the Debate

2= 1 PollyToynbee 1 DAN NEIDLE

Arguing FOR the motion:

Rt Hon David Lammy MP, Member of Parliament for Tottenham
Robert Palmer, Barrister, Monckton Chambers

Arguing AGAINST the motion:

Polly Toynbee, Journalist, Guardian
Dan Neidle, Partner, Clifford Chance

Chaired by:

Axel Threlfall, Editor at Large, Reuters


The judiciary, not just parliament, must address breached election promises

Is a vote a contract? Should UK laws be bolstered to protect the public from false claims made during election campaigns, or should Parliament be responsible for investigating such behaviour?

Does misleading the general public count as misconduct in public office? And if so, does it meet the definition of ordinary crime? If businesses in industries such as advertising can be held legally accountable for misleading consumers, can political parties? Is the media acting as an adequate check on government, or is it contributing to the problem?

With far-reaching claims made by both sides, the recent 2016 EU referendum in the UK has brought these questions back to the forefront, with commentators now referring to a “post-trust democracy” developing in the wake of the referendum results.

The rise in the use of referenda and the strength of public opinion they ignite has also seen broken election promises result in legal action in the R (Wheeler) v Office of the Prime Minister. The polarising effect of the Brexit debate suggests that the scene could well be set for similar actions.

As the US Presidential election approaches, it is the American general public who are now caught in the cross-fire of campaigning, as candidates vie for votes with grand promises of change.

Join us for a lively debate as our expert panel explore the issue of accountability in political campaigning and role of the judiciary and the rule of law in protecting the public.

Should Parliament, judiciary or other address breached election promises?