Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill - continued        House of Lords
PART I, ESTABLISHMENT OF ELECTORAL COMMISSION AND BODIES WITH RELATED FUNCTIONS - continued
Commission's general functions - continued

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Reviews of electoral and political matters.     6. - (1) The Commission shall keep under review, and from time to time submit reports to the Secretary of State on, the following matters, namely-
 
 
    (a) such matters relating to elections to which this section applies as the Commission may determine from time to time;
 
    (b) such matters relating to referendums to which this section applies as the Commission may so determine;
 
    (c) the redistribution of seats at parliamentary elections;
 
    (d) if any functions are transferred by an order under section 18(1), 19(1) or 20(1), the matters in relation to which those functions are exercisable;
 
    (e) the registration of political parties and the regulation of their income and expenditure;
 
    (f) political advertising in the broadcast and other electronic media;
 
    (g) the law relating to the matters mentioned in each of paragraphs (a) to (f).
      (2) At the request of the Secretary of State, and within such time as the Secretary of State may specify, the Commission shall-
 
 
    (a) review, and
 
    (b) submit a report to the Secretary of State on,
  such matter or matters (whether or not falling within subsection (1)) as the Secretary of State may specify.
 
      (3) The Commission shall not, however, carry out any review (or make any report) under this section with respect to any of the following matters, namely-
 
 
    (a) the funding of political parties under section 97 of the Scotland Act 1998 or for the purpose of assisting members of the Northern Ireland Assembly connected with such parties to perform their Assembly duties;
 
    (b) the conduct of referendums held in pursuance of any provision made by or under an Act of the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly or the conduct of any poll under section 36 of the Government of Wales Act 1998;
 
    (c) the law relating to the matters mentioned in each of paragraphs (a) and (b).
      (4) Where any review carried out under this section relates to elections or referendums in Northern Ireland, the Commission shall consult the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland with respect to such elections or referendums.
 
      (5) Each report made by the Commission under this section shall be published by them in such manner as they may determine.
 
      (6) The elections and referendums to which this section applies are-
 
 
    (a) in the case of elections-
 
      (i) the elections mentioned in section 5(2),
 
      (ii) local government elections in England or Wales, and
 
      (iii) local elections in Northern Ireland; and
 
    (b) in the case of referendums, referendums to which Part VII applies and those under Part II of the Local Government Act 2000.
Commission to be consulted on changes to electoral law.     7. - (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.     8. - (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.     9. - (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.     10. - (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 22(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 156(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.     11. - (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.
 
 
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