Watchdog rejects Independent Group's 'misleading' European elections logo

Posted On: 
16th April 2019

Britain's electoral watchdog has rejected The Independent Group’s choice of logo for next month’s planned European poll.

The breakaway group of MPs have been given the thumbs-up to field candidates in next month's scheduled European elections.
Credit: 
PA

In a blow for the new group, the Electoral Commission said the party’s choice of emblem for ballot papers - a black square with the initials "TIG" and the hashtag "#change" - was "likely to mislead voters".

And it said their chosen acronym was not “sufficiently well known” to give the public a clear idea of who they were backing when they mark their crosses next month.

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The Independent Group - which last month confirmed it was changing its name to ‘Change UK - The Independent Group’ - was formed earlier this year following the decision of 11 former Labour and Conservative MPs to quit their parties.

In a batch of decisions on party registrations released on Tuesday, the Electoral Commission confirmed that it had approved Change UK’s formal application to register as a political party.

The move paves the way for the group to field candidates in the European elections, which Britain is now slated to take part in on 23 May after EU leaders handed Theresa May a Brexit delay.

But the Commission confirmed it had rejected  the party’s logo choice, meaning that there will now be a blank space instead of its preferred emblem on the ballot paper for next month’s European poll.

Under rules overseen by the watchdog, parties must register a name and emblem that makes ballot papers "clear and easy to use".

Logos can be rejected for a string of reasons, including being "obscene or offensive", running on for "more than six words", or including “words or images the publication of which would be likely to amount to the commission of an offence”.

A spokesperson for the Commission said: "The emblem contained a hashtag, and we cannot assess the material linked to a hashtag, which will change over time, against the legal tests.

“The emblem also contained the acronym TIG, which we were not satisfied was sufficiently well known."

It is understood that the party will be able to submit a new emblem for use in future elections, although it will not be able to do so in time for the European vote if it goes ahead.

TIG/Change UK has been approached for comment.