European Parliamentary Elections Bill [H.L.] - continued        House of Lords

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Conduct of elections
Returning officers.     6. - (1) There is to be a returning officer for each electoral region.
 
      (2) For a region in England and for Wales, the returning officer is to be a person who-
 
 
    (a) is an acting returning officer by virtue of section 28(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983, and
 
    (b) is designated for the purposes of this subsection by order of the Secretary of State.
      (3) For Scotland the returning officer is to be a person who-
 
 
    (a) is a returning officer by virtue of section 25 of that Act, and
 
    (b) is designated for the purposes of this subsection by order of the Secretary of State.
      (4) For Northern Ireland the returning officer is to be the Chief Electoral Officer.
 
      (5) The Secretary of State may by regulations confer functions on the returning officers for the electoral regions and on persons who are, in relation to parliamentary elections-
 
 
    (a) in the case of England and Wales, acting returning officers, or
 
    (b) in the case of Scotland, returning officers.
      (6) There are to be charged on, and paid out of, the Consolidated Fund-
 
 
    (a) charges to which persons on whom functions are conferred under subsection (5) are entitled under regulations under this Act, and
 
    (b) any sums required by the Secretary of State for expenditure on the provision of training relating to functions conferred under subsection (5).
      (7) Where functions are conferred on a person under subsection (5) in relation to an electoral region, the council of a relevant area which falls wholly or partly within that region must place the services of their officers at his disposal for the purpose of assisting him in the discharge of those functions.
 
      (8) In subsection (7), "relevant area" means-
 
 
    (a) a district or London borough in England,
 
    (b) a county or county borough in Wales, and
 
    (c) a local government area in Scotland.
Regulation-making powers: general.     7. - (1) The Secretary of State may, subject to the provisions of this Act, by regulations make provision as to-
 
 
    (a) the conduct of elections to the European Parliament, and
 
    (b) the questioning of such an election and the consequences of irregularities.
      (2) Regulations under this Act may make provision (including the creation of criminal offences)-
 
 
    (a) about the limitation of election expenses of candidates;
 
    (b) for the allocation of seats in the case of an equality of votes;
 
    (c) for securing that no person stands for election more than once at a general election (whether by being nominated as a candidate or by being included in a party's list of candidates).
      (3) Regulations under this Act may apply, with such modifications or exceptions as may be specified in the regulations-
 
 
    (a) any provision of the Representation of the People Acts or of any other enactment relating to parliamentary elections or local government elections, and
 
    (b) any provision made under any enactment.
      (4) Regulations under this Act may amend any form contained in regulations made under the Representation of the People Acts so far as may be necessary to enable it to be used both for the purpose indicated in regulations so made and for the corresponding purpose in relation to elections to the European Parliament.
 
      (5) Section 26 of the Welsh Language Act 1993 (power to prescribe Welsh version) applies in relation to regulations under this Act as it applies in relation to Acts of Parliament.
 
 
Entitlement to vote
Persons entitled to vote.     8. - (1) A person is entitled to vote as an elector at an election to the European Parliament in an electoral region if he is within any of subsections (2) to (5).
 
      (2) A person is within this subsection if on the day of the poll he would be entitled to vote as an elector at a parliamentary election in a parliamentary constituency wholly or partly comprised in the electoral region, and-
 
 
    (a) the address in respect of which he is registered in the relevant register of parliamentary electors is within the electoral region, or
 
    (b) his registration in the relevant register of parliamentary electors results from an overseas elector's declaration which specifies an address within the electoral region.
      (3) A person is within this subsection if-
 
 
    (a) he is a peer who on the day of the poll would be entitled to vote at a local government election in an electoral area wholly or partly comprised in the electoral region, and
 
    (b) the address in respect of which he is registered in the relevant register of local government electors is within the electoral region.
      (4) A person is within this subsection if he is entitled to vote in the electoral region by virtue of section 3 of the Representation of the People Act 1985 (peers resident outside the United Kingdom).
 
      (5) A person is within this subsection if he is entitled to vote in the electoral region by virtue of Part III of the European Parliamentary Elections (Changes to the Franchise and Qualifications of Representatives) Regulations 1994 (citizens of the European Union other than Commonwealth and Republic of Ireland citizens).
 
      (6) Subsection (1) has effect subject to any provision of regulations made under this Act which provides for alterations made after a specified date in a register of electors to be disregarded.
 
      (7) In subsection (3) "local government election" includes a municipal election in the City of London (that is, an election to the office of mayor, alderman, common councilman or sheriff and also the election of any officer elected by the mayor, aldermen and liverymen in common hall).
 
Double voting.     9. - (1) A person is guilty of an offence if, on any occasion when elections to the European Parliament are held in all the member states under Article 9 of the Act annexed to Council Decision 76/787, he votes as an elector more than once in those elections, whether in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.
 
      (2) Subsection (1) is without prejudice to any enactment relating to voting offences, as applied by regulations under this Act to elections of MEPs held in the United Kingdom.
 
      (3) The provisions of the Representation of the People Act 1983, as applied by regulations under this Act, have effect in relation to an offence under this section as they have effect in relation to an offence under section 61(2) of that Act (double voting).
 
      (4) In particular, the following provisions of that Act apply-
 
 
    (a) section 61(7) (which makes an offence under section 61(2) an illegal practice but allows any incapacity resulting from conviction to be mitigated by the convicting court), and
 
    (b) section 178 (prosecutions for offences committed outside the United Kingdom).
 
Entitlement to be MEP
Disqualification.     10. - (1) A person is disqualified for the office of MEP if-
 
 
    (a) he is disqualified for membership of the House of Commons, or
 
    (b) he is a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.
      (2) But a person is not disqualified for the office of MEP under subsection (1)(a) merely because-
 
 
    (a) he is a peer,
 
    (b) he has been ordained or is a minister of any religious denomination,
 
    (c) he holds an office mentioned in section 4 of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 (stewardship of Chiltern Hundreds etc.), or
 
    (d) he holds any of the offices described in Part II or III of Schedule 1 to that Act which are designated by order by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this section.
      (3) A citizen of the European Union who is resident in the United Kingdom is not disqualified for the office of MEP under subsection (1)(a) merely because he is disqualified for membership of the House of Commons under section 3 of the Act of Settlement (disqualification of persons, other than Commonwealth and Republic of Ireland citizens, who are born outside Great Britain and Ireland and the dominions).
 
      (4) A person is disqualified for the office of MEP for a particular electoral region if, under section 1(2) of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, he is disqualified for membership of the House of Commons for any parliamentary constituency wholly or partly comprised in that region.
 
      (5) A person who-
 
 
    (a) is a citizen of the European Union, and
 
    (b) is not a Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland,
       is disqualified for the office of MEP if he is disqualified for that office through a criminal law or civil law decision under the law of the member state of which he is a national; and in this subsection a "criminal law or civil law decision" has the same meaning as in Council Directive 93/109/EC.
 
      (6) If a person who is returned as an MEP for an electoral region under section 2 or 5-
 
 
    (a) is disqualified under this section for the office of MEP, or
 
    (b) is disqualified under this section for the office of MEP for that region,
       his return is void and his seat vacant.
 
      (7) If an MEP becomes disqualified under this section for the office of MEP or for the office of MEP for the electoral region for which he was returned, his seat is to be vacated.
 
      (8) Subsection (1) is without prejudice to Article 6(1) of the Act annexed to Council Decision 76/787 (incompatibility of office of MEP with certain offices in or connected with Community institutions).
 
Judicial determination of disqualification.     11. - (1) Any person may apply to the appropriate court for a declaration or (in Scotland) declarator that a person who purports to be an MEP for a particular electoral region-
 
 
    (a) is disqualified under section 10 (whether generally or for that region), or
 
    (b) was so disqualified at the time when, or at some time since, he was returned as an MEP under section 2 or 5.
      (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the appropriate court is-
 
 
    (a) the High Court, if the electoral region concerned is in England, or is Wales,
 
    (b) the Court of Session, if the electoral region concerned is Scotland, or
 
    (c) the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland, if the electoral region concerned is Northern Ireland.
      (3) The decision of the court on an application under this section is final.
 
      (4) On an application under this section-
 
 
    (a) the person in respect of whom the application is made is to be the respondent or (in Scotland) the defender, and
 
    (b) the applicant must give such security for the costs or expenses of the proceedings, not exceeding £5000, as the court may direct.
      (5) The Secretary of State may by order substitute another figure for the figure in subsection (4)(b).
 
      (6) No declaration or declarator is to be made under this section in respect of any person on grounds which subsisted at the time of his election if there is pending, or has been tried, an election petition in which his disqualification on those grounds is, or was, in issue.
 
      (7) Any declaration or declarator made by the court on an application under this section must be certified in writing to the Secretary of State immediately by the court.
 
 
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Prepared 21 June 2000