HC Deb 07 August 1905 vol 151 c366

To ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he will consider the advisability of proposing legislation which would make the publication or utterance of false statements at election times with regard to the actions or alleged intentions of any political Party, and with the object of deceiving the electors, a penal offence.

(Answered by Mr. A. J. Balfour.) The Act of 1895 (The Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1895) makes it an illegal practice to publish false statements of fact in relation to the personal character or conduct of a candidate. It is evidently not easy to go further, if only because of the difficulty of distinguishing between the mis-statements which are due to malice and those which are due to mere stupidity.