Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Eleventh Report



PART IV
Control of Donations to Registered Parties and their Members etc.

SCHEDULE 5 - DONATION REPORTS

Schedule 5 sets out the details to be given in a donation report. Paragraph 2 sets out the specific requirements which under sub-paragraph (1)(b) includes such other information about the donor as may be required by regulations made by the Secretary of State after consulting the Commission. This matter has been left to regulations because the Commission may decide that further information is not needed or the information to be provided may change over time. For example, the information may be linked that that contained in the Representation of the People Regulations 1986 and those regulations may change. It is thought desirable that there should be some parliamentary scrutiny of regulations made under this provision but it is thought that the negative resolution procedure is sufficient. The Secretary of State must consult the Commission before making the regulations.

The quarterly or weekly donation report must also give such other information (if any) as is required by regulations made by the Commission (paragraph 7). The Commission may find that it would be useful to have other information from parties about donations and so this gives a little flexibility. The regulations will only affect registered parties. It is an offence for a treasurer not to comply with requirements as to the regulations of donations (section 60(4)).

DONATION REPORTS UNDER SCHEDULES 10, 11 AND 14 (PARAGRAPHS 10(1)(D) AND 10(3)(D)

Persons other than registered political parties are required to deliver donation reports to the Commission. The requirements as to the donation reports mirror the requirements in Schedule 5. There are similar powers to require by regulations additional information. The reason this matter has been left to delegated legislation is the same as for the equivalent power in Schedule 5. It is likely, but not inevitable, that once the need to impose additional requirements has been identified it will be applied to all donation reports.

CLAUSE 62: EXTENSION OF REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

The weekly donation reports are only required during a Parliamentary general election. The Secretary of State may, after consulting the Commission, by order, extend the provisions on weekly donation reports in relation to the specified election period in relation to one or more relevant elections (see definition in subsection (2)(b)) as specified in the order. This matter has been left to delegated legislation because the Secretary of State will want to consider the burden on the Commission and usefulness of weekly reports before making an order under this provision. The order is subject to the affirmative resolution procedure because it is extending the application of the provisions requiring weekly donation reports to other relevant elections and so should be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny.

CLAUSE 65 - SPECIAL PROVISION FOR NORTHERN IRELAND PARTIES

Clause 65 enables the Secretary of State by order to make provision for extending in relation to each Northern Ireland party for a specified period the categories of permissible donors specified in section 49(2). This will allow for example such parties to accept donations from individuals who are not on the register of electors in the United Kingdom. The order may also exempt from any specified provisions of Part IV (Reporting of donations to registered parties) for a specified period any specified information relating to donations made to a Northern Ireland party. This would allow, for example, the exemption from the requirement to report the address of individual donors. The Neill Committee recommended this provision. This matter has been left to delegated legislation since it will need to be determined how long the order should apply and exactly what exemptions should be provided dependant on the prevailing political situation in Northern Ireland. The order is subject to the negative resolution procedure. However, the Government gave a commitment at Report stage in the House of Commons to table an amendment to make the order subject to the affirmative resolution procedure (Hansard 14.3.2000, col 204).

PARAGRAPH 14, SCHEDULE 6 - EXEMPTION FOR DONATIONS TO INDIVIDUALS AND MEMBERS' ASSOCIATIONS

Under paragraph 14 of Schedule 6 the power to make an order exempting disclosing of specified information for a specified period in respect of a Northern Ireland party applies also to specified information relating to controlled donations made to regulated donees who are individuals ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland or members associations wholly or mainly consisting of members of a Northern Ireland party. The order is subject to the negative resolution procedure as is the order under clause 65. The Government intends to bring forward an amendment to make the order subject to affirmative resolution consistent with the amendment it proposes to clause 65.

CLAUSE 66 - CONTROL OF DONATIONS TO INDIVIDUALS AND MEMBER'S ASSOCIATIONS

Clause 66 and Schedule 6 make provision for the control of donations to individuals and members associations ("regulated donors") corresponding to those that apply to registered political parties under Part IV, Chapters I to III. The regulated donee must make a donation report in respect of each controlled donation (as defined by paragraph 8(2) of Schedule 6). The donation report must give information about the donor as is required in paragraph 2 and 3 of Schedule 5 in respect of a report under clause 58 and such other information as may be required by regulations made by the Commission. These regulations are similar in aim to those in Schedule 5. Paragraph 9(3) enables the Commission by regulations to require additional information and the same reasoning applies as applies to regulations made under that Schedule.


 
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