Memorandum by the Home Office
This memorandum is concerned with the Political Parties,
Elections and Referendums Bill, which was brought from the Commons
on 16 March 2000. It identifies each provision of the Bill that
confers powers for delegated legislation, and explains in each
case the purpose of the power, the reason why the matter has been
left to delegated legislation, and the nature and the reason for
the procedure selected.
The main purposes of the Bill are to establish an
Electoral Commission ("the Commission"); make further
provision for the registration of political parties (see the Registration
of Political Parties Act 1998 ("the 1998 Act"), which
is in part re-enacted by the Bill); make provision for the accounting
and reporting of donations by registered political parties; restrict
those from whom parties and others may accept donations; limit
campaign expenditure by registered parties and third parties;
limit expenditure during referendum campaigns and provide for
shareholder consent for company donations for political purposes.
CLAUSE 146 - ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
There are a number of delegated powers under the
Bill. Clause 146 of the Bill provides that any power of the Secretary
of State to make any order or regulations under the Bill shall
be exercisable by statutory instrument. This clause also sets
out the parliamentary procedure that is to apply in each case.
CLAUSE 145: VARIATION OF SPECIFIED SUMS
Clause 145 provides that the Secretary of State may
by order vary any sum for the time being specified in any provision
of this Bill; other than the sum specified in clause 10(8) (total
sum of policy development grant) and 31(5) (assistance for existing
party to meet expenses incurred in order to comply with Parts
III and IV). Such an order may only be made where the Secretary
of State considers it expedient to do so in consequence of changes
in the value of money or where the order gives effect to a recommendation
of the Commission. This matter is left to delegated legislation,
as it may be necessary to vary specified sums from time to time.
An order made under clause 145(2)(a) is not subject to parliamentary
procedure, but since it can only be made in limited circumstances
and to limited effect this is thought to be justifiable. An order
made under clause 145(2)(b) is subject to the negative resolution
procedure. It is thought desirable that there should be some parliamentary
scrutiny of orders made under this provision, but since such orders
are made on the recommendation of the Commission it is believed
that the negative resolution procedure is sufficient.
REGULATIONS MADE BY THE COMMISSION
A number of the delegated powers in the Bill make
provision for the Commission to make provision by regulations.
Clause 1 and Schedule 1 of the Bill establish the Commission.
Paragraphs 21 to 23 of Schedule 1 make provision for regulations
made by the Commission. The Commission must give a copy of the
regulations, and any alterations, to the Secretary of State. The
regulations must be made in writing and must be printed and made
available to the public. No person shall be taken to have contravened
any regulations made by the Commission unless the regulations
have been printed and made available to the public. The Commission
regulations are limited in their application to supervised bodies
under the Bill. A precedent for a supervisory body being able
to make regulation affecting those it supervises can be found
in paragraphs 6 to 9 of Schedule 9 to the Financial Services Act