Purdah kicks in in as the council prepare for May local elections

On May 2, 17 seats are up for election in 16 wards. Prospective councillors have until 3 April to hand in their nomination papers.

The six week pre-election period, also known as the ‘purdah’, prevents local government from making certain announcements about controversial initiatives that could be seen to be advantageous to any candidates or parties in the forthcoming election.

It also governs the type of election material that political parties can produce, with strict spending limits enforced by the Electoral Commission.

As reported in the Timesin January, unofficial election fly posters that appeared around the town during Christmas time would be in strict contravention of the purdah.

Last week Tunbridge Wells Borough Council released 14 YouTube videos entitled: ‘Your Town, Your Future’ outlining the councils five-year plan for the town and featuring a number of councillors and members of the local community.

These videos, which are not posted on the council website, may also have been deemed in contravention of electoral rules if they had been released after the official start of the pre-election period.

The Council has said the timing of the videos, which were shot and paid for in-house, and the beginning of ‘purdah’, were just coincidental.

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