The UK’s electoral watchdog has expressed its discontent over David Cameron’s decision to spend £9.3m ($13.1m) of taxpayers’ money on 23 million ‘remain’ leaflets ahead of the EU referendum. “We don’t think the government should have done it, but it’s not illegal,” a spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission told IBTimes UK. The 14-page documents will be sent to homes across Britain in a bid to drum-up support for a ‘remain’ vote ahead of the 23 June ballot. The move has enraged Eurosceptics, who have questioned the fairness of the initiative.
“This government scam confirms my view that the EU referendum is defined by the battle of the people against the political elite,” declared Ukip leader Nigel Farage. “They are going to spend £10m of taxpayers’ money on a pro-EU leaflet and website which are full of lies. Wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to tell us what to think is outrageous.”
However, the leaflet drive does not break any rules since it is not within the so called ‘purdah’ period, which prevents the government from using the civil service or its resources for political gains that starts on 27 May.
“After the referendum on Scottish independence the Electoral Commission recommended that governments should conduct no taxpayer funded advertising activity during the regulated period,” a spokeswoman for Electoral Commission added.