The SMF and the EU Referendum

The Social Market Foundation has no corporate position on the question of whether Britain ought to remain a member of the European Union or not.

Furthermore, we don’t believe that we are doing anything which could reasonably be described as ‘campaigning’ for any outcome in the referendum.

During the run-up to the referendum, we will publish work and hold events which discuss potential impacts of ‘Brexit’. Our research is objective and led by the evidence, and panels at our events will typically contain speakers from both sides of the debate. If we do not have speakers from both sides of the debate at an event then the SMF chair will explain to the audience why this is so, reiterate our objective standpoint in the debate and ensure that audience members holding views from the side of the debate that is not represented are given additional time to provide questions and comments.

However, while we are confident, for the reasons given here, that our activity in the referendum period does not constitute ‘campaigning’, we want to make sure that we are not, even inadvertently, breaching the relevant rules.

Therefore, in the interests of ensuring that we are fully compliant, we are registering as a campaigning organisation. While our work will reflect arguments on both sides of the debate, the guidance from the Electoral Commission requires us to register on one side of the campaign or the other. Accordingly, we are registering on the ‘Remain’ side. This is because, on the basis of the preliminary research we’ve conducted so far, it looks as if our findings will support more of the arguments made by the ‘Remain’ camp than the ‘Leave’ camp, even though that isn’t its purpose.

Over the next eight weeks, we look forward to publishing research and holding events which help to educate the public, which is central to our purpose as a charity.


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