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The Conservative government has introduced new plans to “crack down on intimidation, influence and disinformation” and safeguard UK elections – while strenuously denying evidence of any such behaviour.

New laws will bar people from running for office for five years, if they are found guilty of intimidating or abusive behaviour.

In future, online election material must clearly show who has produced it – one hopes the Brexit Party will take note of this.

And there will be a consultation on ways to strengthen laws on foreign donations.

The last two measures are intended to prevent interference in UK elections and referendums by foreign organisations, and to ensure that domestic political organisations can’t breach electoral spending restrictions.

They address concerns that targeted advertisements, on social media platforms like Facebook, seen only by the intended recipient, do not contain statements showing who has funded them and on whose behalf they have been made.

Bizarrely, the government’s spokesman denied that there is any need for these planned new laws.

Kevin Foster (who?), Minister for the Constitution (oh, that’s who), said: “There is no evidence that British elections or referendums have been compromised.

“One of Britain’s most valuable safeguards is the use of pencil and paper to vote.

“But we need to review and refresh our analogue laws for a digital age, and ensure there are robust safeguards against hostile states, foreign lobbyists and shadowy third parties.”

But Jo Stevens, a Labour member of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, tweeted her scepticism:

Cognitive dissonance?

Source: Government safeguards UK elections – GOV.UK

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