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Lord Bach moved Amendments Nos. 253A to 235F:



    Page 81, leave out lines 19 to 26.


    Page 81, line 28, after ("property") insert ("or goods").


    Page 81, line 29, after ("property") insert ("or goods").


    Page 81, line 30, at end insert ("; and paragraph 2(3)(a) of Schedule 2A to this Act shall apply with any necessary modifications for the purpose of determining, for the purposes of subsection (1) above, whether property or goods is or are transferred to a candidate or his election agent."").


    Page 81, line 30, at end insert--


("Modification of sections 90A to 90C in relation to election of London members of the London Assembly.
90D.--(1) Sections 90A to 90C above shall have effect, in their application in relation to candidates at an election of London members of the London Assembly at an ordinary election, subject to the following modifications.
(2) In relation to any such candidates included in a list of candidates submitted by a registered political party in connection with the election--
(a) references to anything done by or on behalf of, or in relation to, a candidate at the election shall be construed as a reference to any such thing done by or on behalf of, or in relation to, all or any of the candidates on the list; and
(b) "for the purposes of the candidate's election" shall (instead of having the meaning given by section 90A(4) above) be construed as meaning with a view to, or otherwise in connection with promoting or procuring electoral success for the party, that is to say, the return at the election of all or any of the candidates on the list.
(3) Section 90A above shall have effect with the substitution of the following subsection for subsection (5)--
"(5) In this Part, and in Part III of this Act, any reference (in whatever form) to promoting or procuring a candidate's election at an election, or to promoting or procuring electoral success for a party, includes doing so by prejudicing the electoral prospects of other candidates or parties at the election."." ").

The noble Lord said: These amendments have all been previously spoken to with Amendment No. 195D. I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 127, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 128 [Meaning of "candidate"]:

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 253G:


    Page 81, leave out lines 36 to 47 and insert--


("""candidate" shall be construed in accordance with section 118A below;".
( ) After section 118 of that Act there shall be inserted--
"Meaning of candidate.
118A.--(1) References to a candidate in this Part of this Act shall be construed in accordance with this section (except where the context otherwise requires).
(2) A person becomes a candidate at a parliamentary election--
(a) on the date of--
(i) the dissolution of Parliament, or
(ii) in the case of a by-election, the occurrence of the vacancy,

24 Oct 2000 : Column 228


in consequence of which the writ for the election is issued if on or before that date he is declared by himself or by others to be a candidate at the election, and
(b) otherwise, on the day on which he is so declared by himself or others or on which he is nominated as a candidate at the election (whichever is the earlier).
(3) A person becomes a candidate at an election under the local government Act--
(a) on the last day for publication of notice of the election if on or before that day he is declared by himself or by others to be a candidate at the election, and
(b) otherwise, on the day on which he is so declared by himself or by others or on which he is nominated as a candidate at the election (whichever is the earlier),
or, in the case of a person included in a list of candidates submitted by a registered political party in connection with an election of the London members of the London Assembly at an ordinary election, on the day on which the list is submitted by the party."").

The noble Lord said: In moving the amendment, I speak to Amendment No. 256A and opposition Amendments Nos. 254 and 255.

Clause 128 amends the definition of a "candidate" in Section 118 of the 1983 Act. The definition of a candidate is relevant to determining, among other things, the date from which the restrictions on incurring election expenses apply.

The new definition as set out in the Bill makes two substantive changes. First, in relation to the definition of both a parliamentary and local government candidate, the reference to a candidate who is elected is omitted. This will ensure that sitting MPs and councillors are treated on an equal footing with other candidates. The second change is that the definition of a local government candidate now includes a starting time for a person's candidature; namely, the last day for the publication of the notice of election--that is, 25 working days before the date of the election.

However, we believe that a further refinement to the definition of a candidate is needed. The definition as set out both in the existing Section 118 of the 1983 Act and in that section as amended by Clause 128 provides that a person becomes a parliamentary candidate either when he is nominated as a candidate or when he is declared by himself or by others to be a candidate following the issue of the writ or following dissolution, whichever is the earlier. But what about a person who declares himself to be a candidate before the date of the dissolution? As the definition stands, such a person would be deemed to be a candidate only from the date of his formal nomination whereas he ought to be treated as a candidate with effect from the date of the dissolution. Amendment No. 253G makes this adjustment to the definition.

The new Section 118A of the 1983 Act also incorporates a modification to the definition of a local government candidate to fit the circumstances of the election of the London members of the GLA. Amendment No. 256A makes a consequential drafting change.

24 Oct 2000 : Column 229

Opposition Amendments Nos. 254 and 255 would restrict the definition of a candidate to a person nominated as a candidate. This has the advantage of simplicity but at the price, we think, of weakening the controls on candidates' election expenses. The amendments could have the effect of reducing the period during which the limits on a candidate's expenses would apply. Clearly the more a person can spend on his election campaign before he formally becomes a candidate the less he will be constrained by the expenditure limits. In the case of a by-election, a declared candidate could spend freely on his campaign for some three months following the occurrence of the vacancy and be bound by the expenditure controls on nominated candidates only in the final two weeks before the date of the poll. We do not think that that is the right approach. I hope that the noble Lord will not press the amendment.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I have tabled two amendments in this group. As the Minister rightly said, they delete the new words which have appeared. I understood what the noble Lord said and why these words appear. I understand the argument if someone who has been declared by his party as the candidate starts to spend money.

My other worry is the use of the words,


    "is declared by others to be a candidate"

and what we mean by "others". Perhaps I may give an example although it may be slightly flippant. Let us say that in an election people know that the noble Lord, Lord Bassam of Brighton, is likely to be the Labour candidate. He cannot be now but let us allow a little fiction. Let us say that the party believes in some underhand methods of electioneering--I shall not name them; it could say, "We are the others and we declare Lord Bassam will be the Labour Party candidate", and his expenses clock then starts ticking. That is a possibility as the Bill stands and perhaps we should look at it to prevent unfair tactics being used by opponents--or by the candidate whom the noble Lord has beaten in the selection process.

Lord Bach: Perhaps I may make an arrangement with the noble Lord; I do not want to call it a deal. If he withdraws his amendments, I promise to look at the point that he has raised.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I am happy to do that.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 254 to 256 not moved.]

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 256A:


    Page 82, line 1, leave out ("amendment made by this section does") and insert ("amendments made by this section do").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 128, as amended, agreed to.

24 Oct 2000 : Column 230

Clause 129 [Corrupt and illegal practices: consequences for persons convicted of such practices]:

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 256B:


    Page 83, line 42, at end insert--


("Incapacity to hold public or judicial office in Scotland.
173A.--(1) Subject to section 174 below, a person convicted of a corrupt practice--
(a) shall for the period of five years beginning with the date of his conviction, be incapable of holding any public or judicial office in Scotland, and
(b) if already holding such an office, shall vacate it as from that date.
(2) Subsection (1) above applies in addition to--
(a) any incapacity or other requirement applying to the person by virtue of section 173 above, and
(b) any punishment imposed on him under section 168 above."").

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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