Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill - continued        House of Lords
PART I, THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION - continued
Commission's general functions - continued

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Commission to be consulted on changes to electoral law.     6. - (1) Before making an instrument to which this section applies, the authority making the instrument shall consult the Commission.
 
      (2) This section applies to an instrument containing-
 
 
    (a) regulations under paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 to the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1978 (conduct and questioning of European Parliamentary elections);
 
    (b) an order under paragraph 4(1)(a) or (b) of that Schedule (designations of regional returning officers);
 
    (c) an order under section 24(1)(c), (cc) or (e), 25(1)(b), 28(1)(b) or 35(2B) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (designations of returning officers and acting returning officers);
 
    (d) rules under section 36 of that Act (local government elections in England and Wales);
 
    (e) regulations under that Act ("the 1983 Act"), or under the Representation of the People Act 1985, in relation to which section 201(2) of the 1983 Act (regulations which may not be made unless a draft of them has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament) has effect;
 
    (f) an order under section 11 or 36(4) or (5) of the Government of Wales Act 1998 (conduct of elections to the National Assembly for Wales and of polls held by the Assembly);
 
    (g) an order under section 12(1) or (6) of the Scotland Act 1998 (conduct of elections to the Scottish Parliament);
 
    (h) an order under section 34(4) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (conduct of elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly);
 
    (i) an order under section 17A(3) of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (free delivery of election addresses at elections to the Greater London Authority).
      (3) No draft Order shall be laid before Parliament under section 84(4) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (power to make provision with respect to elections in Northern Ireland) except after consultation with the Commission.
 
Powers with respect to elections exercisable only on Commission recommendation.     7. - (1) The function of giving directions under section 52(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (directions as to discharge of registration duties) shall be exercisable only on, and in accordance with, a recommendation of the Commission.
 
      (2) A function to which this subsection applies shall, unless the Secretary of State considers that the exercise of the function is expedient in consequence of changes in the value of money, be exercisable only on, and in accordance with, a recommendation of the Commission.
 
      (3) Subsection (2) applies to the following functions, namely-
 
 
    (a) the making of orders under section 76(2A) of that Act (limitation of expenses in connection with elections to the Greater London Authority);
 
    (b) the making of orders under section 11 of the Government of Wales Act 1998 or section 12 of the Scotland Act 1998 so far as relating to the matters mentioned in subsection (2)(c) of the section (limitation of expenses in connection with elections to the National Assembly for Wales or Scottish Parliament);
 
    (c) the making of regulations under paragraph 2(3A)(a) of Schedule 1 to the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1978 (limitation of expenses in connection with elections to the European Parliament).
Involvement of Commission in changes in electoral procedures.     8. - (1) The Commission-
 
 
    (a) may participate with any relevant local authority in the joint submission of proposals falling within section 10(1) of the Representation of the People Act 2000 (pilot schemes); and
 
    (b) shall have such other functions in relation to-
 
      (i) orders and schemes under section 10 of that Act, and
 
      (ii) orders under section 11 of that Act (revision of procedures in the light of pilot schemes),
 
    as are conferred on the Commission by those sections.
      (2) Where any scheme under section 10 of that Act falls to be implemented following the approval by the Secretary of State of proposals jointly submitted by the Commission and a relevant local authority as mentioned in subsection (1)(a) above, the Commission may, in connection with the implementation of the scheme, provide that authority with such assistance (except financial assistance) as the Commission think fit.
 
      (3) In this section "relevant local authority" has the same meaning as in section 10 of that Act.
 
Giving of advice and assistance.     9. - (1) The Commission may, at the request of any relevant body, provide the body with advice and assistance as respects any matter in which the Commission have skill and experience.
 
      (2) The assistance which may be so provided includes (in particular) the secondment of members of the Commission's staff.
 
      (3) The Commission may also-
 
 
    (a) provide advice and assistance to-
 
      (i) registration officers,
 
      (ii) returning officers at relevant elections,
 
      (iii) registered parties,
 
      (iv) recognised third parties within the meaning of Part VI, and
 
      (v) permitted participants within the meaning of Part VII;
 
    (b) provide advice and assistance to other persons which is incidental to, or otherwise connected with, the discharge by the Commission of their functions.
      (4) The Commission-
 
 
    (a) may make charges for advice or assistance provided by them under subsection (1); but
 
    (b) may not make charges for advice and assistance provided under subsection (3).
      (5) Nothing in this section authorises the Commission to provide any form of financial assistance.
 
      (6) In this section "relevant body" means-
 
 
    (a) the Scottish Parliament;
 
    (b) the Scottish Executive;
 
    (c) the National Assembly for Wales;
 
    (d) the Northern Ireland Assembly;
 
    (e) the Executive Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly;
 
    (f) any of the following local authorities-
 
      (i) in England, the council of a county, district or London borough,
 
      (ii) in Wales, the council of a county or county borough, and
 
      (iii) in Scotland, a council constituted under section 2 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994;
 
    (g) a national or regional parliament or government in a country other than the United Kingdom;
 
    (h) a body in any such other country having functions corresponding to any of the functions of the Commission;
 
    (i) an organisation of which two or more countries (or their governments) are members or a subordinate body of such an organisation.
      (7) In this section "relevant election" means any election falling within section 21(5) other than a local government election in Scotland.
 
      (8) The Scottish Ministers may by order provide that subsection (7) shall have effect as if the words "other than a local government election in Scotland" were omitted.
 
      (9) Section 153(5) shall apply to an order made by the Scottish Ministers under subsection (8) as it applies to an order made by the Secretary of State under this Act and the reference in that section to enactments shall include a reference to any enactment comprised in or in an instrument made under an Act of the Scottish Parliament.
 
      (10) The power of the Scottish Ministers to make an order under this section shall be exercisable by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of the Scottish Parliament.
 
Broadcasters to have regard to Commission's views on party political broadcasts.     10. - (1) In section 36 of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (independent television services: party political broadcasts), after subsection (4) there shall be inserted-
 
      (5) Before making any rules for the purposes of this section the Commission shall have regard to any views expressed by the Electoral Commission.
 
      (2) In section 107 of that Act (independent sound broadcasting services: party political broadcasts), after subsection (3) there shall be inserted-
 
      (4) Before making any rules for the purposes of this section the Authority shall have regard to any views expressed by the Electoral Commission.
 
      (3) The British Broadcasting Corporation and Sianel Pedwar Cymru shall each, in determining its policy with respect to party political broadcasts, have regard to any views expressed by the Electoral Commission for the purposes of this subsection.
 
Policy development grants.     11. - (1) For the purposes of this section-
 
 
    (a) "a policy development grant" is a grant to a represented registered party to assist the party with the development of policies for inclusion in any manifesto on the basis of which-
 
      (i) candidates authorised to stand by the party will seek to be elected at an election which is a relevant election for the purposes of Part II, or
 
      (ii) the party itself will seek to be so elected (in the case of such an election for which the party itself may be nominated); and
 
    (b) a registered party is "represented" if there are at least two Members of the House of Commons belonging to the party who-
 
      (i) have made and subscribed the oath required by the Parliamentary Oaths Act 1866 (or the corresponding affirmation), and
 
      (ii) are not disqualified from sitting or voting in that House.
      (2) The Commission shall submit recommendations to the Secretary of State for the terms of a scheme for the making by the Commission of policy development grants.
 
      (3) Where the Secretary of State receives recommendations under subsection (2), he shall make an order setting out such a scheme in terms which, with any modifications he considers appropriate, give effect to the recommendations.
 
      (4) The scheme shall, in particular, specify or provide for the determination of-
 
 
    (a) the parties eligible for policy development grants, and
 
    (b) how any money provided to the Commission for the making of policy development grants is to be allocated between the parties eligible for such grants.
      (5) The Commission shall keep under review the terms of any scheme under this section and shall make recommendations to the Secretary of State for any variations to the scheme which they consider appropriate.
 
      (6) Where the Secretary of State receives recommendations under subsection (5), he shall make an order giving effect, with any modifications he considers appropriate, to the recommendations.
 
      (7) Where any such modifications as are mentioned in subsection (3) or (6) would result in an order under that subsection giving effect with modifications to any recommendations of the Commission in respect of either of the matters mentioned in subsection (4), the order shall not be made without the agreement of the Commission to the modifications so far as relating to those matters.
 
      (8) The Commission shall make such grants as are provided for under any scheme under this section, and any such grants may be made subject to such conditions as (consistently with the terms of the scheme) the Commission consider appropriate; but nothing in such a scheme shall have effect to authorise the Commission to make in any financial year more than £2 million in policy development grants.
 
      (9) The Secretary of State may by order made with the consent of the Treasury vary the sum for the time being specified in subsection (8).
 
 
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