UCL European Institute


The EU Referendum: Public Information and Regulation of Campaigning

17 September 2015, 12:00 am


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17 September 2015
Sara Hobolt from the LSE and Jack Vowles from Auckland, New Zealand join UCL's Constitution Unit and European Institute to speak on the roles of public information and campaign regulation in determining referendum outcomes and campaigns. 

17 September 2015, 6.00-8.00pm

Roberts G08 Sir David Davies LT 
UCL Gower Street 
London WC1E 6BT 

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At this seminar, two leading referendum experts will offer cross-national perspectives on the procedures for the UK's coming referendum on EU membership.

  • Professor Sara Hobolt of the London School of Economics will be discussing how experiences in referendums held around Europe on EU-related questions can shed light on the forthcoming British referendum on membership of the EU. She will consider the key factors that are likely to matter to vote choices in the EU referendum.
  • Professor Jack Vowles of Victoria University of Wellington will discuss "Referendums New Zealand Style". The norms and practice of government-initiated referendums in New Zealand differ from other jurisdictions in important ways. Deliberation is encouraged by significant investment in balanced information campaigns, and promoters must find their own funds, normally but not necessarily subject to expenditure limits. False claims of matters of fact are sometimes rebutted by those associated with the official information campaign, and can also be addressed by advertising and broadcasting standards authorities.

  • To see videos of Sara Hobolt and Jack Vowles, please visit our media gallery

Speaker Biographies

Sara Hobolt is Sutherland Chair in European Institutions at the LSE European Institute. She has published extensively on European Union politics, elections and referendums. Her most recent book is Blaming Europe? Responsibility without Accountability in the EU (Oxford University Press, 2014, with James Tilley). She was awarded the Best Book prize by the European Union Studies Association in 2010 for her previous book Europe in Question: Referendums on European Integration (Oxford University Press, 2009). In 2011, she received the APSA emerging scholar award for her contribution to the field of elections, public opinion and voting behaviour. She was the BBC television election expert in the 2009 and 2014 European elections.

Jack Vowles was born in England but has lived most of his life in New Zealand. His PhD is from the University of British Columbia and during his career he has been employed at the University of Auckland, the University of Waikato, and the University of Exeter in the UK. He is currently Professor of Comparative Politics at Victoria University of Wellington. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, served on the Planning Committee of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems between 2004 and 2015, and leads the New Zealand Election Study.


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This event is part of our Britain & Europe Project