You could have got a free croissant from Paris this morning - until the Electoral Commission banned it


London commuters were given postcards from Parisians asking them to stay in the EU this morning after the initial plan to give out free croissants was banned by the Electoral Commission.

The Electoral Commission told us that #operationcroissant, the plan to give out 600 croissants at Kings Cross St Pancras, was prohibited under "treating" rules.

The guidelines state: "A person is guilty of treating if either before, during or after a referendum they directly or indirectly give or provide any food, drink, entertainment or provision to corruptly influence any voter to vote or refrain from voting. Treating requires a corrupt intent - it does not apply to ordinary hospitality."

Instead, the 600 croissants which came from Paris on the first Eurostar of the day were donated to homeless shelters.

Postcards asking Brits to stay in the EU were given out as planned.

Messages ranged from the meaningful ("Let us keep together to fight for human rights, such as freedom of movement and freedom of speech") to the funny ("There are not enough croissants in France to express how much we love you guys!").

Rosa Rankin-Gee, a writer based in Paris, came up with the idea when a British friend confessed she wasn't sure which way to vote in the upcoming referendum.

The friend sent a photo of her postal vote along with a promise to vote remain if Rosa bought her a croissant from Paris.

The plan grew from there, with a whole team working on bringing croissants to 600 people the day before the historic vote on whether Britain should stay in the European Union.

Before the Electoral Commission stepped in, Rosa told us #operationcroissant wasn't a political statement: "We are avoiding messages which ask you to vote a certain way. We all are aware of the vitriolic nature of the campaign, and we really want to do something that is stripped of the angry, politicised and divisive campaigning.

"We wanted to do something sweeter."

However, that didn't stop the police from getting involved, and contacting the team to let them know they could be breaking the law.

"It was never our aim to buy votes... it was conceived as an act of friendship, proximity and goodwill; and act of breaking bread," said Team Operation Croissant in a statement.

But they continued to say: "We are happy to fall on our baguettes and stick to the right side of British law."