Social Media



What are these Rules?

These rules govern the handling of complaints about the misuse of social media. They are part of the Code of Conduct for Members and Representatives of the Conservative Party [2022].

Who can make a complaint under these Rules?

Any person who is 15 years of age or older.

When do these rules apply?

Where any person over the age of 15 thinks that a current member of the Conservative Party has misused or abused social media, they can complain about that to the Party. If they want to complain, they must follow these rules. If a person under the age of 15 wishes to make a complaint it can be made by their parent or guardian.

If a person is complained about under these rules, he or she is entitled a reasonable opportunity to defend themselves but must do so by following these rules.


The person making a complaint is called the Complainant. The person who is complained about is called the Respondent.

In these rules, a person’s complaint is called a complaint. A response to the complaint is called a response. Together, they are both called a matter.

More than one person can make the same complaint. More than one person can be the Respondent to the complaint. In these rules Complainant and Respondent refer to singular or plural.

Confidentiality and Legal Proceedings

Proceedings under these rules are confidential. The Complainant and Respondent must keep them confidential.

Nothing under these Rules affects anyone’s rights to bring any lawful proceedings in any Court or to refer any matter to a UK law enforcement agency.

How to Make a Complaint

1. Make it promptly. A Complainant must make a complaint promptly after becoming aware of misuse or abuse complained about. Any delay in making a complaint may prejudice it being resolved. Serious delay may mean that the complaint may be rejected because it is not possible to deal with it fairly. What amounts to delay or serious delay will depend on the facts of each case and will be decided by the Presenting Officer.

2. Provide all relevant information. Any complaint must provide the following information:
a.The name of the Complainant including two sets of contact details;

b.The name of the Respondent and their position in the Party (if known);

c.A clear factual description of what the Respondent has done;

d.When they did it;

e.How they did it (including naming the social media used, if known);

f.Why it is being complained about;

g.A calendar date when the Complainant first became aware of the misuse or abuse.

h.If previous steps have been taken to resolve the matter, an explanation of what they are.

i.If the matter is in court proceedings or with the police, details of that.

3. Provide all relevant evidence. In addition to this information, the Complainant must also provide ALL the evidence they want to rely on including witness evidence. This is the only opportunity under these Rules to provide evidence to support a complaint. Illegible material will not be accepted.

4. The Respondent is only obliged to respond to the complaint.

5. Make the complaint to the correct place. The complaint must be submitted via the online submission form on the Party website or by any other method of submission as determined by the Board of the Conservative Party.

The Response to the Complaint

7. The Respondent is entitled to admit the complaint or deny it. The Respondent must tell the Presenting Officer in writing whether the complaint is admitted or denied in accordance with these Rules.

8. If the Respondent denies the complaint he or she must a.give all their reasons for doing so and;  b.provide all evidence in support of their position, including any witness evidence; and c.provide any points in mitigation.

This is the only opportunity that they will have to explain their position. Illegible material will not be accepted.

9. The Respondent must communicate the response to the complaint by 18.00hrs on the fifth working day after the Presenting Officer sent out the complaint. To avoid doubt, the first of those 5 days is the first working day after the complaint was sent out. For example, if the complaint was sent on Monday 1 June, the Respondent must respond to the Presenting Officer by 18.00hrs on Monday 8 June. The Presenting Officer may extend the deadline from 5 working days up to no more than 10 working days if either the Respondent request it or there is a very compelling reason to grant that request.

10. If the Respondent fails to admit or deny the complaint, or fails to respond to the complaint at all, the matter will be referred to the panel on the expiry of the 5-day deadline specified above without further notice or reference to the Respondent.

11. If the Respondent admits the complaint and wishes to make amends themselves, they must tell the Presenting Officer and explain what steps are intended and when they will be taken.

Referring the Matter for a Decision

12. After the Presenting Officer has received the response to the complaint, the matter shall be referred to a decision-making panel as soon as possible.
13. The panel will comprise of at least one and at most five persons and will be drawn from the panel of the Disciplinary Sub-Committee.
14. The panel will decide whether the complaint is upheld or rejected. If it is rejected, the Complainant will be told in writing as soon as possible with reasons. If it is accepted, the Complainant and the Respondent will be told in writing as soon as possible with reasons.
15. If it is accepted, the panel is entitled, to sanction a Respondent where a complaint has been upheld or take such other regulatory step as they see fit. The sanctions and regulatory steps that may be imposed are set out in schedule 1. The sanctions and steps are deemed to be effective immediately unless stated otherwise.
16. The panel may, instead of imposing a sanction and their absolute discretion, refer the matter to a Disciplinary Sub-Committee constituted under the Rules and Procedure of the Disciplinary Sub-Committee for further consideration including the imposition of any sanction.
17. Failure by a Respondent to comply with any decision is a discrete disciplinary offence under the Party Constitution and may justify separate disciplinary proceedings being brought.

Referring the Matter for a Decision

18. The Respondent has the right to appeal a decision. A notice of appeal must be made in writing within 28 days of the decision being received by the Respondent, excluding (for the purposes of calculating time) the day of receipt. Any notice of appeal made after this time shall not be valid. Notice is given when it is actually received, not when it is sent. Notice may be sent and received by email ( An appeal must be made in writing, and set out full grounds by email to or by post to Conservative Party, 10 Wellington Place, Leeds LS1 4AP. The appeals procedure set out in Appendix 1 of the Rules and Procedure of the Disciplinary Sub-Committee (available upon request) shall apply.
19. All appeals are decided by the Individual Member Review Committee in accordance with its Rules and Procedures.
20. It is permissible for an appeal committee to impose a different penalty to the one imposed by the panel, including a more serious penalty.

Annex: Interpretation

A Party member may have misused social media when the use:

a.commits a crime
 b.commits an unlawful act and/or engages in prohibited conduct under either or both Equality Acts 2006 and 2010
 c.publishes or republishes data in breach of Data Protection Act 2018
 d.breaches the Code of Conduct (including bullying, etc)
 e.breaches the Party’s Safeguarding Policy any way that, intentionally or not, breaches any part of the Party Constitution, including in particular in any way that brings the Party into disrepute
 g.breaches the Party’s Opposition Candidacy and Agency Complaints Rules
 h.breaches the confidentiality of any disciplinary process “like” or “share” or “repost” or otherwise republish or endorse posts made by others that (had they been Party members) would breach any of these criteria

Use” for these purposes means posting or endorsing information on social media. It is immaterial whether the social media account belongs to the member or is in the name of the member.  This includes social media accounts belonging to, for example, Constituency Associations or Federations, Conservative Council Groups, Branches, Campaign Groups and Affiliate Groups.

Use” covers situations where Party members allow others access to social media accounts over which they have control.

Schedule 1

These are the sanctions available if the complaint is upheld.

  1. Provisional expulsion from Party membership subject to later ratification by the Party Board.

  2. Suspension from Party membership for a period up to 12 months.

  3. Suspension from any office held within the Party for a specified period up to 12 months.

  4. Suspension from any candidature within the Party for a specified period up to 12 months.

  5. An order of non-renewal of Party membership.

  6. Severe rebuke.

  7. Rebuke.

  8. An order that the Respondent apologise to the Complainant in a way acceptable to the Party Chairman. This may also be a condition of keeping or restoring Party membership.

  9. An order that the Respondent remove any offending material from social media which is within the power and control of the Respondent.

  10. Conditions on the ongoing membership of the Party such as the need to undertake training. The cost of complying with such conditions shall be borne by the Respondent.

Note: Three severe rebukes under these or any other Party disciplinary rules shall automatically and immediately result in suspension from the Party for a period to be determined by the Chairman of the Board of the Conservative Party.

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