Sunday, 30 November 2014

What are Hope not Hate hiding as Electoral Commission registration lapses?

Smeeth - allowed HnH
registration to lapse
Casual browsing on the Electoral Commission's website while looking at Hope not Hate Ltd's expenditure for this year's European Elections lead to the surprising discovery that the organisation's registration with the Commission has lapsed.

Due for renewal on the 6th November, the failure to register by HnH general secretary Ruth Smeeth - a Labour parliamentary candidate in Stoke on Trent - is doubly surprising as we are currently in a period where expenditure is regulated by the Electoral Commission ahead of next year's General Election, something Ms Smeeth can hardly be unaware of. The controlled period ran from the 23rd May this year according to guidance on the ElComm website which is made available to all parties and third parties, including serial electoral failure Ms Smeeth. Although Smeeth's name is listed as the 'responsible person', it can hardly have happened without Hope not Hate Ltd owner Nick Lowles knowledge, as any correspondence relating to renewal would have been sent to HnH head office.

At height of HnH campaign barely 70% of website visitors
were located in the UK, and 20% were in Belgium
All of which rather begs the question 'what are Hope not Hate hiding?'. With their recent campaign to encourage otherwise non-eligible donors to become 'Hope not Hate Supporters' by donating via online payment processors being a couple of months old, there is the possibility that they hope to escape the reporting requirements by some legalistic dodge. The failure to re-register also coincides with their innumerate 'we are the 85% campaign', launched shortly after UKIP's Rochester & Strood by election victory and designed to 'represent' the 57% of people (!) who didn't vote UKIP.

Are there any other reasons? We are interested by the big business ties of some of their donors, but we'll go into the detail of their expenditure at a later date. Be aware though that anything HnH does now in relation to the forthcoming general election is outside of the law and potentially illegal as they are no longer registered as a third party participant for the General Election.

Hope not Hate Ltd's lapsed registration with the Electoral Commission, making their anti-UKIP efforts since the 6th November illegal under current electoral law.

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