The Returning Officer of the Green Party has ruled that two of the candidates for party leader, and two of the candidates for deputy, have breached election rules.

The four candidates out of a total of eight candidates sent a joint mailing to party members. However, most of these leaflets failed to make clear that they were printed by the candidates, and that this was not an official mailing from the party. Because this was a joint mailing from a number of candidates, and because the publications inside were designed to look like the official election mailing, “I have concluded that some members could have misinterpreted these mailings as in some way ‘official’ additional mailings”, wrote the Returning Officer. It is hard to escape the suspicion that this mailing was calculated to appear like it was the official mailing and that the candidates who didn’t have material included in it had failed to participate. It is difficult to understate how damaging that totally false impression is to the campaigns of Peter Crainie, Romayne Phoenix, Alexandra Phillips and Will Duckworth.

The candidates against whom these complaints were made were Natalie Bennett, Pippa Bartolotti, Richard Mallander, and Caroline Allen. Some have speculated that the group teamed up because they believed that Peter Cranie and Alexandra Phillips are front runners for the posts, and they wished to work together to catch them.

The candidates who kept to the rules have had to rely on hand delivery of their campaign materials, putting them at a significant disadvantage in the election. We can only hope that the Green Party will rectify this by paying for a mailing to all members containing election materials from the candidates who obeyed the rules. To do otherwise is to reward rule-breaking in the most serious election the Green Party has ever conducted.

The full ruling is below:

Following complaints received from members, I have made the following rulings relating to a mailing sent by some candidates for the posts of Leader and Deputy Leader in the current elections to the Green Party Executive.

There are five rulings in total.

All members are encouraged to read these rulings before casting their vote.

 

Ruling 1 – on the absence of imprint on leaflet from Richard Mallender

On a leaflet circulated to members (Richard Mallender for Deputy Leader), there is no imprint indicating who printed it, who caused it to be printed and on behalf of whom it was printed. It is therefore in breach of section 4.2.4 of the election regulations.

 

Ruling 2 – on the absence of full imprint on leaflet from Caroline Allen

On a leaflet circulated to members (Vote Caroline Allen for Deputy Leader), the imprint indicates who published and promoted the leaflet but not who printed it and is therefore in breach of section 4.2.4 of the election regulations.

 

Ruling 3 – on the absence of imprint on leaflet from Pippa Bartolotti

On a leaflet circulated to members (Pippa Bartolotti: Why Iā€™m running for leader of the Green Party of England and Wales), there is no imprint indicating who printed it, who caused it to be printed and on behalf of whom it was printed. It is therefore in breach of section 4.2.4 of the election regulations.

 

Ruling 4 – on the absence of imprint on covering leaflet included in shared mailings by Natalie Bennett, Pippa Bartolotti, Caroline Allen, Richard Mallender

On a leaflet circulated to members (Dear Green Party member, You are receiving this mailing as part of the election of the posts of leader and deputy leader.), there is no imprint indicating who printed it, who caused it to be printed and on behalf of whom it was printed. It is therefore in breach of section 4.2.4 of the election regulations.

 

Ruling 5 – on whether shared mailings by some or all of Natalie Bennett, Pippa Bartolotti, Caroline Allen and Richard Mallender indicate candidates running a joint campaign

Members have received mailings containing leaflets from some or all of the candidates named above, along with the covering leaflet referred to in ruling 4 (above). Following investigations into the content, circulation and producion of these shared mailings, and in line with clarifications and advice given to the campaign teams of some of the candidates involved in these mailing and the same advice given to other candidates who enquired of the ERO about the boundaries between sharing resrouces or volunteers and formally becoming a joint campaign, I do not find these mailings to be evidence of a joint campaign team operating for either Pippa Bartolotti and Richard Mallender or Natalie Bennett and Richard Mallender (being the only combinations that could stand as jiont candidates under the internal election regulations).

However, in the light of ruling 4 (on the absence of an imprint on the covering note for these mailings), I have concluded that some members could have misinterpreted these mailings as in some way ‘official’ additional mailings and would like to clarify to all members that the only official communications relating the Leadership Elections are the candidate booklet and ballot paper circulated with Green World, postings by the ERO to this site or the Green Party’s public website or emails from the ERO (including those sent via the members’ email newletter sent by the Internal Communications Co-ordinator). Any other communications should be assumed to be campaign communications.