REGISTRATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES BILL
Memorandum by the Home Office
This Memorandum describes the powers to make
subordinate legislation which will be conferred by the Registration
of Political Parties Bill. The Bill makes provision for the registration
of political parties.
2. Clause 3(1)(f) confers power on the Secretary
of State by order to prohibit the inclusion of certain words or
expressions in the registered name of a political party. Such
words or expressions are also excluded from inclusion in the party's
registered emblem (if any) by virtue of clause 5(2)(d). Clause
3(2) allows an order under clause 3(1)(f) to except the use of
a word or expression from the prohibition in specified circumstances.
3. It is proposed to exercise this power
to prohibit the use of words such as "Royal" in the
registered names of political parties. However, an exception would
be made where that word forms part of the name of a place or institution
to allow names such as "the Royal Tunbridge Wells Residents'
Party" or "Save the Royal Marsden Hospital Party".
It is also proposed to prohibit the use of "Independent",
4. Any such order would be subject to the
negative resolution procedure, by virtue of clause 20(2). It is
submitted that this is the appropriate level of control on a matter
which is not central to the Bill. Most parties are unlikely to
want their registered names to include the sort of words or expressions
likely to be listed in an order under this provision.
Clauses 6, 7 and paragraph 1(b) of Schedule 1
5. Clauses 6(7) and 7(3)(c) and paragraph
1(b) of Schedule 1 confer respectively powers on the Secretary
of State to prescribe by order the fee for making an application
to change the registered particulars of a party, to confirm the
continuation of a party's registration and to include a party
in the register of political parties. By virtue of clause 20(2),
any such order is subject to the negative resolution procedure.
This level of parliamentary control is fairly common in the case
of a power to set fees.
6. Clause 11 enables the Secretary of State
to make regulations providing public access to the register of
political parties. It also allows the regulations to impose conditions,
including conditions as to the payment of fees, in connection
with this access or to allow the registrar to do so. By virtue
of clause 20(2), any such regulations are subject to the negative
resolution procedure. It is submitted that this level of control
is appropriate for a power concerned with the detail about access
to the register.
7. The provisions listed in clause 25(1)
come into force on Royal Assent. The provisions listed in clause
25(2) are to be brought into force by commencement order. As is
usual in the case of such orders, the power is not subject to
any parliamentary control (see clause 20(2)).
8. The power in paragraph 1 of Schedule
1 is described in paragraph 5 above.
9. Paragraph 7 of Schedule 1 confers on
the Secretary of State a power to prescribe information to be
included in an application for registration in addition to that
currently specified in that Schedule. By virtue of clause 20(2),
this power is subject to the negative resolution procedure. There
are no current plans to exercise this power, but it seemed sensible
to include it since the registration of political parties is an
innovation and experience may point to the desirability of requiring
information in addition to that required by Schedule 1.
15 July 1998