Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill - continued        House of Lords

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  PART II
  REGISTRATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES
 
Requirement for registration
Parties to be registered in order to field candidates at elections.     20. - (1) No nomination may be made in relation to a relevant election unless the nomination is in respect of-
 
 
    (a) a person who stands for election in the name of a party registered under this Part; or
 
    (b) a person who does not purport to represent any party; or
 
    (c) a registered party, where the election is one for which registered parties may be nominated.
      (2) For the purposes of subsection (1) a person does not purport to represent any party if either-
 
 
    (a) the description of the candidate given in his nomination paper, is "Independent", or
 
    (b) no description of the candidate is given in his nomination paper.
      (3) The following elections are relevant elections for the purposes of this Part-
 
 
    (a) parliamentary elections,
 
    (b) elections to the European Parliament,
 
    (c) elections to the Scottish Parliament,
 
    (d) elections to the National Assembly for Wales,
 
    (e) elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly,
 
    (f) local government elections, and
 
    (g) local elections in Northern Ireland.
      (4) For the purposes of this Act a person stands for election in the name of a registered party if his nomination paper includes a description authorised by a certificate issued by or on behalf of the registered nominating officer of the party.
 
 
The register of political parties
The register.     21. - (1) There shall continue to be a register of political parties; but as from the appointed day it shall be maintained by the Commission under this Part, instead of by the registrar of companies under the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998.
 
      (2) Where a party is registered under the 1998 Act immediately before the appointed day, the party's entry in the register shall continue to have effect as if made under this Part of this Act.
 
      (3) Anything done by or in relation to the registrar of companies for any purposes of the 1998 Act shall, so far as necessary for continuing its effect on or after the appointed day, have effect as if done by or in relation to the Commission.
 
      (4) Anything which immediately before the appointed day is in the process of being done by or in relation to the registrar of companies for any purposes of the 1998 Act may be continued by or in relation to the Commission.
 
      (5) The Secretary of State may by order make provision for the transfer to the Commission of any property, rights and liabilities to which the registrar of companies is entitled or subject in connection with his functions under the 1998 Act; and an order under this subsection may in particular provide for the order to have effect despite any provision (of whatever nature) which would prevent or restrict the transfer of the property, rights or liabilities otherwise than by the order.
 
      (6) In this section-
 
 
    "the 1998 Act" means the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998;
 
    "the registrar of companies" means the registrar or other officer who performs the duty of registering companies under the Companies Act 1985.
 
Preliminary requirements
Office-holders to be registered.     22. - (1) For each registered party there shall be-
 
 
    (a) a person registered as the party's leader;
 
    (b) a person registered as the party's nominating officer; and
 
    (c) a person registered as the party's treasurer;
  but the person registered as leader may also be registered as nominating officer or treasurer (or both).
 
      (2) The person registered as a party's leader must be-
 
 
    (a) the overall leader of the party; or
 
    (b) where there is no overall leader of the party, a person who is the leader of the party for some particular purpose.
      (3) The person registered as a party's nominating officer must have responsibility for the arrangements for-
 
 
    (a) the submission by representatives of the party of lists of candidates for the purpose of elections;
 
    (b) the issuing of such certificates as are mentioned in section 20(4); and
 
    (c) the approval of descriptions and emblems used on nomination and ballot papers at elections.
      (4) The person registered as a party's treasurer must have overall responsibility for the financial affairs of the party and for ensuring compliance with the provisions of Parts III to V and VII (accounting requirements, control of donations and campaign expenditure and referendums).
 
      (5) Where-
 
 
    (a) the person registered as a party's treasurer dies, or
 
    (b) the Commission are notified by or on behalf of that person that he is no longer the party's treasurer,
  then, until such time as another person is registered as the party's treasurer in accordance with section 27, the appropriate person shall be treated for all purposes of this Act (except subsection (7)) as if he were registered also as its treasurer.
 
      (6) In subsection (5) "the appropriate person" means-
 
 
    (a) the person registered as the party's leader; or
 
    (b) if that person is also registered as its treasurer but not as its nominating officer, the person registered as its nominating officer; or
 
    (c) if that person is also registered both as its treasurer and as its nominating officer, any other officer of the party registered in accordance with Schedule 3.
      (7) A person commits an offence if-
 
 
    (a) he is registered as treasurer of a registered party, and
 
    (b) he has been convicted, at any time within the period of five years ending with the date of registration, of any offence under this Act or of any other offence committed in connection with a relevant election or a referendum within the meaning of Part VII.
Financial structure of registered party: adoption of scheme.     23. - (1) A party may not be registered unless it has adopted a scheme which-
 
 
    (a) sets out the arrangements for regulating the financial affairs of the party for the purposes of this Act; and
 
    (b) has been approved in writing by the Commission.
      (2) The scheme must in particular determine for the purposes of this Act whether the party is to be taken to consist of-
 
 
    (a) a single organisation with no division of responsibility for the financial affairs and transactions of the party for the purposes of Part III (accounting requirements), or
 
    (b) a central organisation and one or more separate accounting units, that is to say constituent or affiliated organisations each of which is to be responsible for its own financial affairs and transactions for the purposes of that Part.
      (3) In the latter case the scheme must-
 
 
    (a) identify, by reference to organisations mentioned in the party's constitution, those which are to constitute the central organisation and the accounting units respectively; and
 
    (b) give the name of each of those organisations.
      (4) The scheme must in every case include such other information as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Commission.
 
      (5) Where a draft scheme is submitted by a party for the Commission's approval, the Commission may either-
 
 
    (a) approve the scheme, or
 
    (b) give the party a notice requesting it to submit a revised scheme to them,
  as they think fit.
 
      (6) If under subsection (5) the Commission request a party to submit a revised scheme, they may specify either or both of the following, namely-
 
 
    (a) any matters which they consider should be dealt with in the revised scheme; and
 
    (b) any modifications which they consider should be incorporated in it.
      (7) A registered party may at any time notify the Commission that it wishes to replace the scheme for the time being approved in relation to it under this section with a further scheme complying with subsections (1) to (4); and where it so notifies the Commission-
 
 
    (a) it shall submit for the Commission's approval a draft of the replacement scheme;
 
    (b) subsections (5) and (6) shall apply in connection with the approval by the Commission of that scheme; and
 
    (c) once that scheme has been approved in writing by the Commission it shall have effect as the party's scheme under this section.
      (8) For the purposes of this section none of the following shall be taken to be a constituent or affiliated organisation in relation to a party-
 
 
    (a) a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 or the Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1992;
 
    (b) a friendly society registered under the Friendly Societies Act 1974 or a society registered (or deemed to be registered) under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 or the Industrial and Provident Societies Act (Northern Ireland) 1969;
 
    (c) any other organisation of a description prescribed by order made by the Secretary of State on the recommendation of the Commission.
      (9) In this section "constitution", in relation to a party, means the document or documents (of whatever name) by which the structure and organisation of the party is determined.
 
      (10) For the purposes of this Act-
 
 
    (a) "accounting unit" means a constituent or affiliated organisation falling within paragraph (b) of subsection (2);
 
    (b) a registered party is a "party with accounting units" if the party's scheme under this section identifies the party as being one falling within that paragraph; and
 
    (c) in the case of such a party, the "central organisation" of the party is the central organisation referred to in that paragraph.
Financial structure of registered party: accounting units.     24. - (1) This section applies where a registered party is a party with accounting units.
 
      (2) For each accounting unit there shall be a person registered as the treasurer of the unit who has overall responsibility for the financial affairs of the unit and for ensuring compliance with the provisions of Parts III to V so far as relating to it.
 
      (3) Section 22(5) and (7) shall apply in relation to a person registered as treasurer of an accounting unit as they apply in relation to a person registered as treasurer of the party, except that in section 22(5) the reference to the appropriate person shall be read as a reference to the person registered as treasurer of the party.
 
 
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Prepared 17 March 2000