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I also wanted to probe the position of those convicted of offences in Scotland as regards holding public and judicial office. However, I believe that the government amendments address some of my concerns. I shall, therefore, leave the matter there and simply await the Minister's response. I beg to move.
Lord Bach: This group of amendments relates to Part VIII of the Bill, which makes a number of amendments to the Representation of the People Act 1983. As drafted, the Bill provides that these changes should not apply in respect of local government elections in Scotland. The probing amendments tabled in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Mackay, would delete the provisions excepting Scottish local government elections from the scope of these changes.
The scope of this Bill in relation to local government elections in Scotland has been addressed--dare I say it?--a number of times during its passage. Nevertheless, I must again make the point that the conduct of local government elections in Scotland is a devolved matter. Therefore, it will be for the Scottish Parliament to decide whether the changes made to the 1983 Act by Clauses 125 to 128 and Clause 131 should also apply in respect of local government elections there. The Bill as drafted reflects that position and, therefore, we urge the withdrawal of the probing amendments.
However, consideration of these provisions in another place raised the question of whether such an exception should apply in the case of incapacities consequent upon conviction for a corrupt or illegal practice. On reflection, it is clear that the changes made by Clauses 129 and 130 are not confined to devolved matters. Whether a person convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice at a Scottish local government election, or reported guilty of such a practice by an election court, may be elected to the House of Commons or indeed vote in a local government election in Scotland is a reserved matter. In those circumstances, the incapacities effected by Clause 29 and paragraph 6 of Schedule 16 should apply and it is for this Parliament to apply them. Accordingly, as we have already indicated by putting our names to them, we support Amendments Nos. 257 and 258. I am grateful to the noble Lord for drafting them. Amendment No. 258B is consequential upon the removal of Clause 130(2).
Those incapacities applied by Clause 129 and Schedule 16 would include the holding of elective office. However, the definition of "elective office" as inserted into the 1983 Act by paragraph 8 of Schedule 16, is confined to those offices to which a local government election is held in England and Wales. We need to continue to make provision for Scotland.
Amendment No. 258C and Amendments Nos. 258E to 258G effectively plug that gap. They would specify that a person convicted or reported guilty of a corrupt or illegal practice would be prohibited from holding
Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I am indeed satisfied. When we come to them, I shall remember to move the amendments to which noble Lords have added their names. It is with some gratitude that one realises that one's drafting is not always imperfect. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
("( ) In sub-paragraph (3) above the reference to a donation for the purpose of meeting election expenses incurred by or on behalf of a candidate includes a reference to a donation for the purpose of securing that any such expenses are not so incurred; and a donation shall be taken to be a donation for either of those purposes if, having regard to all the circumstances, it must be reasonably assumed to be such a donation.").
Page 158, line 5, after ("2") insert (", 2A").
Page 158, line 7, at end insert--
("( ) Where--
(a) at a time when any order is in force under section 65(1) of the 2000 Act a donation is received by a candidate at an election in Great Britain, and
(b) the order provides for this sub-paragraph to apply to any such donation,
references to a permissible donor falling within section 49(2) of that Act shall be construed, in relation to the donation, as not including a registered party which is registered in the Northern Ireland register maintained by the Commission under Part II of that Act.").
Page 158, line 9, at end insert--
("(7) Any reference to a donation received by a candidate when he is (or is deemed to be) his own election agent includes a reference to a donation received by a candidate on a list of candidates to be London members of the London Assembly at an ordinary election who is, or is deemed to be, the election agent of all the candidates on the list.
(8) Any donation which is received by a candidate as mentioned in sub-paragraph (7) above shall be regarded as received by him in his capacity as election agent.").
Page 158, line 13, at end insert--
("(aa) any sponsorship provided in relation to the candidate (as defined by paragraph 2A below);").
Page 158, line 14, leave out ("as permitted by section 73 above)") and insert ("by the candidate, his election agent or any sub-agent)").
Page 158, line 15, leave out from ("by") to end of line 16 and insert ("or on behalf of the candidate;").
Page 158, line 19, leave out ("goods,").
Page 158, leave out line 22.
Page 158, line 23, leave out sub-paragraph (2) and insert--
(a) any money or other property is transferred to a candidate or his election agent pursuant to any transaction or arrangement involving the provision by or on behalf of the candidate of any property, services or facilities or other consideration of monetary value, and
(b) the total value in monetary terms of the consideration so provided by or on behalf of the candidate is less than the value of the money or (as the case may be) the market value of the property transferred,
the transfer of the money or property shall (subject to sub-paragraph (2B) below) constitute a gift to the candidate or (as the case may be) his election agent for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(a) above.
(2A) In determining--
(a) for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)(c) above, whether any money lent to a candidate or his election agent is so lent otherwise than on commercial terms, or
(b) for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)(d) above, whether any property, services or facilities provided for the use or benefit of a candidate is or are so provided otherwise than on such terms,
regard shall be had to the total value in monetary terms of the consideration provided by or on behalf of the candidate in respect of the loan or the provision of the property, services or facilities.
(2B) Where (apart from this sub-paragraph) anything would be a donation both by virtue of sub-paragraph (1)(aa) above and by virtue of any other provision of this paragraph, sub-paragraph (1)(aa) (together with paragraph 2A below) shall apply in relation to it to the exclusion of the other provision of this paragraph.
(2C) The reference in sub-paragraph (1)(b) above to money spent as mentioned in that provision is a reference to money so spent by a person, other than the candidate, his election agent or any sub-agent, out of his own resources (with no right to reimbursement out of the resources of any such other person); and where, by virtue of sub-paragraph (1)(b) above, money so spent constitutes a donation to the candidate, the candidate shall be treated as receiving an equivalent amount on the date on which the money is paid to the creditor in respect of the expenses in question.").