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.     21. - (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 qualifying registered party; or
 
    (b) a person who does not purport to represent any party; or
 
    (c) a qualifying registered party, where the election is one for which registered parties may be nominated.
      (2) For the purposes of subsection (1) a party (other than a minor party) is a "qualifying registered party" in relation to a relevant election if-
 
 
    (a) the constituency, local government area or electoral region in which the election is held-
 
      (i) is in England, Scotland or Wales, or
 
      (ii) is the electoral region of Scotland or Wales,
 
    and the party was, on the last day for publication of notice of the election, registered in respect of that part of Great Britain in the Great Britain register maintained by the Commission under section 22, or
 
    (b) the constituency, district electoral area or electoral region in which the election is held-
 
      (i) is in Northern Ireland, or
 
      (ii) is the electoral region of Northern Ireland,
 
    and the party was, on that day, registered in the Northern Ireland register maintained by the Commission under that section.
      (3) For the purposes of subsection (1) a minor party is a "qualifying registered party" in relation to a relevant election if-
 
 
    (a) the election is a parish or community election; and
 
    (b) the party was, on the last day for publication of notice of the election, registered in the Great Britain register in respect of the part of Great Britain in which the election is held.
      (4) 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-
 
      (i) "Independent", or
 
      (ii) where the candidate is the Speaker of the House of Commons seeking re-election, "The Speaker seeking re-election"; or
 
    (b) no description of the candidate is given in his nomination paper.
      (5) 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.
      (6) 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 registers of political parties
The new registers.     22. - (1) In place of the register of political parties maintained by the registrar of companies under the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998, there shall be the new registers of political parties mentioned in subsection (2) which-
 
 
    (a) shall be maintained by the Commission, and
 
    (b) (subject to the provisions of this section) shall be so maintained in such form as the Commission may determine.
      (2) The new registers of political parties are-
 
 
    (a) a register of parties that intend to contest relevant elections in one or more of England, Scotland and Wales (referred to in this Act as "the Great Britain register"); and
 
    (b) a register of parties that intend to contest relevant elections in Northern Ireland (referred to in this Act as "the Northern Ireland register").
      (3) Each party registered in the Great Britain register shall be so registered in respect of one or more of England, Scotland and Wales; and the entry for each party so registered shall be marked so as to indicate-
 
 
    (a) the part or parts of Great Britain in respect of which it is registered; and
 
    (b) if the party is a minor party, that it is such a party.
      (4) A party may be registered under this Part in both of the new registers, but where a party is so registered-
 
 
    (a) the party as registered in the Great Britain register, and
 
    (b) the party as registered in the Northern Ireland register,
       shall constitute two separate registered parties.
 
      (5) In such a case-
 
 
    (a) the party shall for the purposes of this Act be so organised and administered as to secure that the financial affairs of the party in Great Britain are conducted separately from those of the party in Northern Ireland;
 
    (b) the financial affairs of the party in Great Britain or (as the case may be) Northern Ireland, shall accordingly constitute for those purposes the financial affairs of the party as registered in the Great Britain register or (as the case may be) the Northern Ireland register; and
 
    (c) any application for the registration of a party in accordance with subsection (4) shall similarly be made and determined by reference to the party's organisation and activities in Great Britain and Northern Ireland respectively.
      (6) 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 Registration of Political Parties Act 1998; 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.
 
 
Preliminary requirements
Office-holders to be registered.     23. - (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 21(6); 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) his appointment as treasurer terminates for any other reason,
       then, until such time as another person is registered as the party's treasurer in pursuance of an application under section 29(3)(a), 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 4.
      (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.
      (8) Where a person registered as treasurer of a registered party is convicted of an offence falling within subsection (7)(b), his appointment as treasurer of the party shall terminate on the date of the conviction.
 
      (9) In connection with the registration of a party in both the Great Britain register and the Northern Ireland register in accordance with section 22(4)-
 
 
    (a) a person may be registered in the Northern Ireland register as leader of the separate party registered in that register if (although not such a leader of the party as is mentioned in subsection (2) above) he is leader of the party in Northern Ireland; and
 
    (b) references to a person's responsibilities in subsection (3) or (4) above shall be read as references to the responsibilities that he will have with respect to the separate party registered in the Great Britain register or the Northern Ireland register, as appropriate.
Financial structure of registered party: adoption of scheme.     24. - (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 specified, or of a description specified, in an 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) In connection with the registration of a party in both the Great Britain register and the Northern Ireland register, subsection (1)(a) and the other provisions of this section apply (in accordance with section 22(5)) separately in relation to the party in Great Britain and the party in Northern Ireland, and in that connection-
 
 
    (a) any reference in this section to a constituent or affiliated organisation in relation to the party shall be read as a reference to a constituent or affiliated organisation in relation to the party in Great Britain or the party in Northern Ireland, as appropriate; and
 
    (b) any reference in this Part to the party's constitution shall be read as a reference to the party's constitution so far as relating to the party in Great Britain or the party in Northern Ireland, as appropriate;
       and the party's scheme must show that the financial affairs of the party in Great Britain will be conducted separately from those of the party in Northern Ireland.
 
      (11) 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.     25. - (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 23(5) , (7) and (8) 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 23(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 26 October 2000