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("Sponsorship

2A.--(1) For the purposes of this Schedule sponsorship is provided in relation to a permitted participant if--
(a) any money or other property is transferred to the permitted participant or to any person for the benefit of the permitted participant, and
(b) the purpose (or one of the purposes) of the transfer is (or must, having regard to all the circumstances, reasonably be assumed to be)--

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(i) to help the permitted participant with meeting, or to meet, to any extent any defined expenses incurred or to be incurred by or on behalf of the permitted participant, or
(ii) to secure that to any extent any such expenses are not so incurred.
(2) In sub-paragraph (1) "defined expenses" means expenses in connection with--
(a) any conference, meeting or other event organised by or on behalf of the permitted participant,
(b) the preparation, production or dissemination of any publication by or on behalf of the permitted participant, or
(c) any study or research organised by or on behalf of the permitted participant.
(3) The following do not, however, constitute sponsorship by virtue of sub-paragraph (1)--
(a) the making of any payment in respect of--
(i) any charge for admission to any conference, meeting or other event, or
(ii) the purchase price of, or any other charge for access to, any publication;
(b) the making of any payment in respect of the inclusion of an advertisement in any publication where the payment is made at the commercial rate payable for the inclusion of such an advertisement in any such publication.
(4) The Secretary of State may by order made on the recommendation of the Commission amend sub-paragraph (2) or (3).
(5) In this paragraph "publication" means a publication made available in whatever form and by whatever means (whether or not to the public at large or any section of the public).").


    Page 154, line 42, after ("2(1)(a)") insert ("(other than money)").


    Page 154, line 47, at beginning insert ("the total value in monetary terms of").


    Page 154, line 47, at end insert--


("(2A) The value of any donation falling within paragraph 2(1)(aa) shall be taken to be the value of the money, or (as the case may be) the market value of the property, transferred as mentioned in paragraph 2A(1); and accordingly any value in monetary terms of any benefit conferred on the person providing the sponsorship in question shall be disregarded.").


    Page 154, line 50, leave out from beginning to end of line 3 on page 155 and insert--


("(a) the total value in monetary terms of the consideration that would have had to be provided by or on behalf of the permitted participant in respect of the loan or the provision of the property, services or facilities if--
(i) the loan had been made, or
(ii) the property, services or facilities had been provided,
on commercial terms, and
(b) the total value in monetary terms of the consideration (if any) actually so provided by or on behalf of the permitted participant").


    Page 155, line 4, leave out sub-paragraph (4).


    Page 155, line 7, leave out ("or (4)").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 239P to 242 not moved.]

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 242A:


    Page 157, line 8, after ("donor") insert ("(whether or not falling within paragraph (a))").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 14, as amended, agreed to.

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Clause 115 [Returns as to referendum expenses]:

6.45 p.m.

Lord Bach moved Amendments Nos. 242B to 242E:


    Page 72, line 21, leave out ("officer") and insert ("person").


    Page 72, line 34, leave out ("except where the permitted participant is a registered party,") and insert ("in a case where the permitted participant either is not a registered party or is a minor party,").


    Page 72, line 43, leave out ("subsection (3) of that section") and insert ("section 107(4)").


    Page 72, line 43, at end insert--


("( ) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply to any referendum expenses incurred at any time before the individual or body became a permitted participant, but the return must be accompanied by a declaration made by the responsible person of the total amount of such expenses incurred at any such time.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 115, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 116 and 117 agreed to.

Clause 118 [Declaration of responsible person as to return under section 115]:

Lord Bach moved Amendments Nos. 242F and 242G:


    Page 74, line 6, leave out from ("him") to end of line 9.


    Page 74, line 10, leave out ("the case of a permitted participant other than a registered party,") and insert ("a case where the permitted participant either is not a registered party or is a minor party,").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 118, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 119 agreed to.

Clause 120 [Restriction on publication etc. of promotional material by central and local government etc.]:

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 242H:


    Page 75, line 3, leave out from ("to") to ("which") in line 4 and insert ("any material").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 242J:


    Page 75, line 7, leave out paragraph (b).

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 242J, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 242L and 243 and stop the headlong dash through the Bill. Perhaps I may say how much I appreciate the noble Lord, Lord Bach, being so clear as to what is happening. It does help.

Amendment No. 242J seeks to delete Clause 120(1)(b), which states:


    "deals with any of the issues raised by any questions on which such a referendum is being held".

We are slightly puzzled as to what that paragraph aims to do. Perhaps the Minister will tell the Committee what kinds of material will fall inside that definition.

Amendment No. 242L is different. It seeks to correct one of the major areas where the Government are attempting to make the playing field in a

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referendum slightly uneven. I remind the Committee of recommendation 89 of the Neill committee report which states:


    "The government of the day in future referendums should, as a government, remain neutral and should not distribute at public expense literature, even purportedly 'factual' literature, setting out or otherwise promoting its case".

Clause 120 provides that the Government should undergo a period of "purdah", if I can call it that, during which they will not be able to issue material relating to the referendum. But, while the referendum period itself can be up to six months, the purdah period for the Government is set at 28 days. So while a political party would be limited to spending up to a maximum of £5 million in the six months prior to the referendum, the government of the day could do what they liked with public funds up to 28 days before the poll. They could issue material with a Crown stamp on it; they could put up posters; they could have TV adverts advocating one way of voting in a referendum--and they would have unlimited access to public funds. That is not fair. Why should the government of the day be able to spend tens of millions of pounds during the period of a referendum campaign when other participants are tightly controlled? Clearly that is not what the Neill committee recommended.

The amendment would mean that the restrictions on propaganda being issued by the government of the day would apply throughout the whole of the referendum period. That is what Neill recommended. It is also fair. If the Government, as they claim, want to allow the British public to get a balanced view, I hope that the Minister will support my amendment and prevent governments in future referendums wading in to skew the results in the days leading up to the 28 days of purdah.

I turn to Amendment No. 243. The Government want to allow the continuation of "press notices" during the relevant referendum period. We wonder exactly what that means. I can understand that the Government may want to issue press notices relating to the administrative details of the referendum--that is perfectly understandable; I have no problem with that--but the provision is far too broad. It seems to me that it would allow Ministers to issue partisan propaganda in the guise of press notices--and, for example, to place it on the Internet for all to see--right up until polling day. I wonder whether government press officers would be allowed to brief journalists, even during the 28-day "purdah" period on the basis of such partisan press notices.

What exactly is a "press notice" under the terms of the Bill? The Government could not find such a definition when the issue was raised in another place on 14th February. They have had plenty of time between then and now to find an answer. What kind of material does the sub-paragraph cover? Does it extend to websites and press officers? What does it extend to? If a referendum is to be fair and balanced--and the

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Minister has been keen to emphasise his desire for that--the Government, as well as all the other participants, must play within the rules. I beg to move.


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