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Session 1999-2000
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Other Bills before Parliament

Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill

This is the text of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill, as passed by the House of Commons and introduced in the House of Lords on 16th March 2000.

 
EXPLANATORY NOTES

Explanatory Notes to the Bill, prepared by the Home Office, are published separately as HL Bill 48- EN.


EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

The Lord Bassam of Brighton has made the following statement under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998:

In my view the provisions of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.


 
  
Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill
 
 
 
 
ARRANGEMENT OF CLAUSES

PART I
THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION
The Electoral Commission
Clause 
1.Establishment of the Electoral Commission.
2.Speaker's Committee.
3.Appointment of Electoral Commissioners and Commission chairman.

Commission's general functions
4.Reports on elections and referendums.
5.Reviews of electoral and political matters.
6.Commission to be consulted on changes to electoral law.
7.Powers with respect to elections exercisable only on Commission recommendation.
8.Involvement of Commission in changes in electoral procedures.
9.Giving of advice and assistance.
10.Broadcasters to have regard to Commission's views on party political broadcasts.
11.Policy development grants.
12.Education about electoral and democratic systems.

Commission's electoral boundary functions
13.Boundary committees.
14.Deputy Electoral Commissioners.
15.Boundary Commissions: transfer of functions.
16.Transfer of property etc. of the Boundary Commissions.
17.Local Government Commission for England.
18.Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales.

Supplementary
19.Interpretation of Part I.

PART II

REGISTRATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES
Requirement for registration
20.Parties to be registered in order to field candidates at elections.

The register of political parties
21.The register.

Preliminary requirements
22.Office-holders to be registered.
23.Financial structure of registered party: adoption of scheme.
24.Financial structure of registered party: accounting units.

Registration
25.Registration of parties.
26.Emblems.
27.Changes to the register.
28.Confirmation of registered particulars etc.
29.Party ceasing to be registered.
30.Request by Secretary of State.

Transitional arrangements
31.Financial structure of existing registered party.
32.Assistance by Commission for existing registered parties.

Supplemental
33.Party political broadcasts.
34.Amendment of parliamentary elections rules.
35.False statements: offence.
36.Interpretation and application of Part II.

PART III

ACCOUNTING REQUIREMENTS FOR REGISTERED PARTIES
Accounting records
37.Duty to keep accounting records.

Statements of accounts
38.Annual statements of accounts.
39.Annual audits.
40.Supplementary provisions about auditors.
41.Submission of statements of accounts etc. to Commission.
42.Public inspection of parties' statements of accounts.
43.Criminal penalty for failure to submit proper statement of accounts.

Revision of statements of accounts
44.Revision of defective statements of accounts.

Parties with accounting units
45.Division of responsibilities in case of party with accounting units.

PART IV

CONTROL OF DONATIONS TO REGISTERED PARTIES AND THEIR MEMBERS ETC.
CHAPTER I

DONATIONS TO REGISTERED PARTIES
46.Donations for purposes of Part IV.
47.Payments, services etc. not to be regarded as donations.
48.Value of donations.

CHAPTER II

RESTRICTIONS ON DONATIONS TO REGISTERED PARTIES
Permissible donations
49.Permissible donors.
50.Payments etc. which are (or are not) to be treated as donations by permissible donors.
51.Acceptance or return of donations: general.
52.Return of donations where donor unidentifiable.

Forfeiture of certain donations
53.Forfeiture of donations made by impermissible or unidentifiable donors.
54.Appeal against order under section 53.
55.Supplementary provisions about orders under section 53.

Evasion of restrictions on donations
56.Offences concerned with evasion of restrictions on donations.

CHAPTER III

REPORTING OF DONATIONS TO REGISTERED PARTIES
Reports to be made by registered parties
57.Quarterly donation reports.
58.Weekly donation reports during general election periods.
59.Exemptions from section 58.
60.Submission of donation reports to Commission.
61.Declaration by treasurer in donation report.

Extension of reporting requirements
62.Weekly donation reports in connection with elections other than general elections.

Reports to be made by donors
63.Reporting of multiple small donations.

Register of donations
64.Register of recordable donations.

Power to make special provision
65.Special provision for Northern Ireland parties.

CHAPTER IV
CONTROL OF DONATIONS TO INDIVIDUALS AND MEMBERS ASSOCIATIONS
66.Control of donations to individuals and members associations.

PART V
CONTROL OF CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURE
Preliminary
67.Campaign expenditure.
68.Notional campaign expenditure.
69.Officers of registered party with responsibility for campaign expenditure.

General restrictions relating to campaign expenditure
70.Restriction on incurring campaign expenditure.
71.Restriction on payments in respect of campaign expenditure.
72.Restriction on making claims in respect of campaign expenditure.
73.Disputed claims.

Financial limits
74.Limits on campaign expenditure.

Returns
75.Returns as to campaign expenditure.
76.Auditor's report on return.
77.Submission of returns to the Commission.
78.Declaration by treasurer as to return under section 75.
79.Public inspection of returns under section 75.

PART VI

CONTROLS RELATING TO THIRD PARTY NATIONAL ELECTION CAMPAIGNS
CHAPTER I
PRELIMINARY
Controlled expenditure by third parties
80.Controlled expenditure by third parties.
81.Notional controlled expenditure.
82.Expenditure by third parties which is not controlled expenditure.

Recognised third parties
83.Third parties recognised for the purposes of this Part.
84.Register of notifications for purposes of section 83.

CHAPTER II
FINANCIAL CONTROLS
General restrictions relating to controlled expenditure by recognised third parties
85.Restriction on incurring controlled expenditure.
86.Restriction on payments in respect of controlled expenditure.
87.Restriction on making claims in respect of controlled expenditure.
88.Disputed claims.

Financial limits
89.Limits on controlled expenditure by third parties.

Donations to recognised third parties
90.Control of donations to recognised third parties.

Returns
91.Returns as to controlled expenditure.
92.Auditor's report on return.
93.Submission of returns to the Commission.
94.Declaration by responsible person as to return under section 91.
95.Public inspection of returns under section 91.

CHAPTER III
CONTROLS ON PUBLICATIONS
96.Publications promoting groups of candidates etc. to contain details of printer and publisher.

PART VII
REFERENDUMS
CHAPTER 1
PRELIMINARY
Referendums to which this Part applies
97.Referendums to which this Part applies.
98.Referendum period.
99.Date of poll.

Permitted participants
100.Permitted participants.
101.Declarations and notifications for purposes of section 100.
102.Register of declarations and notifications for purposes of section 100.

Assistance for designated organisations
103.Designation of organisations to whom assistance is available.
104.Applications for designation under section 103.
105.Assistance available to designated organisations.

CHAPTER II
FINANCIAL CONTROLS
Referendum expenses
106.Referendum expenses.
107.Notional referendum expenses.

General restrictions relating to referendum expenses incurred by permitted participants
108.Restriction on incurring referendum expenses.
109.Restriction on payments in respect of referendum expenses.
110.Restriction on making claims in respect of referendum expenses.
111.Disputed claims.

Financial limits
112.General restriction on referendum expenses.
113.Special restrictions on referendum expenses by permitted participants.

Donations to permitted participants
114.Control of donations to permitted participants.

Returns
115.Returns as to referendum expenses.
116.Auditor's report on return.
117.Submission of returns to Commission.
118.Declaration of responsible person as to return under section 115.
119.Public inspection of returns under section 115.

CHAPTER III
CONTROLS ON PUBLICATIONS
120.Restriction on publication etc. of promotional material by central and local government etc.
121.Other publications to contain details of printer and publisher.
122.Referendum campaign broadcasts.

CHAPTER IV
CONDUCT OF REFERENDUMS
123.Chief Counting Officers, and counting officers, for referendums.
124.Orders regulating conduct of referendums.

PART VIII
ELECTION CAMPAIGNS AND PROCEEDINGS
Control of donations to candidates
125.Control of donations to candidates.

Control of candidates' election expenses
126.Financial limits applying to candidates' election expenses.
127.Meaning of "election expenses".
128.Meaning of "candidate".

Corrupt and illegal practices
129.Corrupt and illegal practices: consequences for persons convicted of such practices.
130.Corrupt and illegal practices: election petitions etc.

Miscellaneous amendments
131.Election campaigns and proceedings: miscellaneous amendments.

PART IX
POLITICAL DONATIONS AND EXPENDITURE BY COMPANIES
Control of political donations
132.Control of political donations by companies.

Disclosure of political donations and expenditure
133.Disclosure of political donations and expenditure in directors' report.

PART X
MISCELLANEOUS AND GENERAL
Overseas electors
134.Reduction of qualifying period for overseas electors.

Enforcement of Act
135.General function of Commission with respect to monitoring compliance with controls imposed by the Act etc.
136.Supervisory powers of Commission.
137.Civil penalty for failure to deliver documents etc.
138.General offences.

Inspection of registers etc.
139.Inspection of Commission's registers etc.

Provisions relating to offences
140.Punishment of offences.
141.Summary proceedings.
142.Offences committed by bodies corporate.
143.Offences committed by unincorporated associations.
144.Duty of court to report convictions to Commission.

Variation of specified sums
145.Power to vary specified sums.

Supplementary
146.Orders and regulations.
147.Documents for purposes of the Act.
148.Minor and consequential amendments, repeals and savings.
149.Financial provisions.
150.General interpretation.
151.Short title, commencement and extent.
 

SCHEDULES:
    Schedule 1-The Electoral Commission.
    Schedule 2-The Speaker's Committee.
    Schedule 3-Applications under Part II.
    Part I-Application for registration.
    Part II-Application for alteration of entry.
    Part III-Application for removal of entry.
    Schedule 4-Accounting units: application of accounting requirements.
    Schedule 5-Details to be given in donation reports.
    Schedule 6-Control of donations to individuals and members associations.
    Part I-Introductory.
    Part II-Controls on donations.
    Part III-Reporting of donations by regulated donees.
    Part IV-Reporting of donations by donors.
    Part V-Register of donations.
    Schedule 7-Campaign expenditure: qualifying expenses.
    Part I-Direct expenses.
    Part II-Overheads.
    Part III-Supplemental.
    Schedule 8-Limits on campaign expenditure.
    Part I-Introductory.
    Part II-General limits.
    Part III-Limits applying in special circumstances.
    Part IV-Supplementary.
    Schedule 9-Limits on controlled expenditure.
    Part I-Introductory.
    Part II-General limits.
    Part III-Limits applying in special circumstances.
    Part IV-Supplementary.
    Schedule 10-Control of donations to recognised third parties.
    Part I-Operation and interpretation of Schedule.
    Part II-Controls on donations.
    Part III-Reporting of donations.
    Schedule 11-Assistance available to designated organisations.
    Schedule 12-Referendum expenses: qualifying expenses.
    Part I-Direct expenses.
    Part II-Overheads.
    Part III-Supplemental.
    Schedule 13-Limits on referendum expenses by permitted participants.
    Schedule 14-Control of donations to permitted participants.
    Part I-Introductory.
    Part II-Controls on donations.
    Part III-Reporting of donations.
    Schedule 15-Control of donations to candidates: New Schedule 2A to the Representation of the People Act 1983.
    Part I-Operation and interpretation of Schedule.
    Part II-Controls on donations.
    Part III-Reporting of donations.
    Schedule 16-Amendments relating to election petitions.
    Schedule 17-Election campaigns and proceedings: miscellaneous amendments.
    Schedule 18-Control of political donations by companies: new Part XA of Companies Act 1985.
    Schedule 19-Penalties.
    Schedule 20-Minor and consequential amendments.
    Schedule 21-Repeals.
 


 
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Prepared 17 March 2000