The last few days have seen a flurry of concern around Monday's proposals to tighten up regulation of leafleting. It is a striking example of how misinformation can be used to invent a campaign out of nothing.
The actual report merely adjusts the existing rules. The Council has a system to license people leafletting in certain busy locations. Previously the fee was 66 pounds, the proposal is for the fee to go to 75 pounds. The legislation regulating this has an exemption for charities, religious organisations and leafletting for political purposes.
The mischief started with the Willesden & Brent Times leading with a story that gave the impression that this was an entirely new set of rules, and glossing over the exemptions. What is striking is that I personally spoke to the reporter and told her that "political purposes" meant a variety of political campaigns, not just political parties. Martin Francis is therefore misinformed when he suggests otherwise. Of course, as the exemption is written into the Act of Parliament concerned, Brent Council can't change it even if it wanted to.