The Lobbying Act and purdah

An overview of how the Lobbying Act and purdah works in elections.

1 April 2019

When the 2017 General Election was called, the Federation updated its briefing on the impact of the Lobbying Act and the restrictions on campaigning and lobbying activity that apply in relation to a general election. This briefing should not be considered legal advice – it is intended only as guidance.

The briefing provides:

  • an outline of what the Lobbying Act regulates
  • guidance around what to consider when deciding whether your organisation needs to register with the Electoral Commission
  • advice on how to register if necessary

Download the Lobbying Act briefing (PDF, opens new window)

The 2019 local elections are taking place across the country on 2 May 2019. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about purdah:

What is purdah?

Purdah is the pre-election period which is held before all elections which take place in the United Kingdom. This year purdah will take place from 26 March until the local elections in May.

What does purdah mean for national Government announcements?

Central and local government, and other public bodies such as Homes England and the Regulator of Social Housing, are subject to the usual purdah requirements. This limits their ability to make public statements and announcements or otherwise engage with the public or non-governmental bodies, although much routine and uncontroversial business is likely to continue as usual.

Are there local election taking place in my area in May?

Only certain local councils across the country will be up for election in May. To see if there are elections in your area, please check the Government’s election timetable.

Can I still organise events during this time?

Yes. Purdah should not prevent associations from organising events such as hustings, or inviting a candidate to visit a scheme, provided that these things are done in a way that avoids any implication of supporting or opposing any particular candidate or party. A simple way to achieve neutrality is to ensure all candidates or no candidates who are running for election in a ward are invited to events. 

Can I still hold private meetings with my elected officials?

Yes. Meeting with your current elected officials should remain unchanged.