Elections 2017

Elections Committee should not have banned Eyre over abusive leaflet

Without the time to pursue a full investigation, Daisy Eyre’s campaign has been presumed guilty until proven innocent

Louis Ashworth Follow Louis Ashworth on Twitter

Eyre has been banned from campaigning for nine hoursLucas Chebib

In the midst of a close and hotly-contested Presidential campaign, it is the last thing Daisy Eyre’s campaign would have wanted.

The former Jesus JCR President has been slapped with a nine-hour campaign ban, essentially stopping her from doing any canvassing today, after one of her campaign leaflets was found with “Jack Drury is a lying Tory” written on the back.

“Eyre has been tarnished by actions almost certainly beyond her control”

In its decision to ban Eyre, Elections Committee (EC) have set a dangerous precedent: a hefty ban was issued before any kind of thorough investigation took place, and Eyre has been tarnished by actions almost certainly beyond her control.

The evidence of the vandalised leaflet, sent to EC this morning, cannot stand by itself. Its submission took the form of a short video, showing an Eyre flyer being flipped around to reveal writing on the back, which suggested a voting preference order and carried an insult against Drury.

Working off the rule that personal attacks are not allowed, and that candidates should take responsibility for their campaigners’ action, EC acted quickly to ban Eyre, and condemn the use of abusive language. In doing so, however, they have neglected their responsibility to properly investigate the incident.

Eyre was already on her third warning, after two incidents of her team campaigning in Facebook comment sections. In both those instances, however, the decision was clear: the accounts bore the names of individuals known to be part of Eyre’s team.

Here, that is not so easy – though the vandalised flyers should obviously be condemned, we only have the claims of the person who submitted them, which EC did not make public, as to how they were received. The reality is we have no idea who wrote it.

“She has lost her right to be considered innocent until proven guilty” 

At the very least, EC should be checking in any way they can whether this has been a repeated incident at Homerton, as presumably – if this were a malicious Eyre campaigner – they would not have only written on one leaflet. Realistically, that will probably not be possible – and it would be pointless now, as the damage has already been done.

EC have a huge task in front of them, one which they have been handling very well up to this point. In issuing this ban, however, they have refused to give Eyre the benefit of the doubt, and she has lost her right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. What effect that will have on the actual results, we shall have to see on Friday

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