Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Political Parties and Elections Bill

The Committee Stage of this Bill is due to start today in the House of Lords. The Minister who is guiding the Bill through the House of Lords is Lord Bach (pictured)

The Bill makes some amendments to the regulation of party funding and election expenditure that is set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. It will cover the whole of the UK.

The Bill aims to:
  • strengthen the regulatory powers of the Electoral Commission, to provide new powers of investigation and the option of civil sanctions
  • enable political parties to put forward four extra Electoral Commissioners and relax political restrictions on staff of the Commission
  • alter the definition of ‘election expenses’ and ‘candidate’ in the Representation of the People Act 1983 to take into account spending on elections prior to the dissolution of Parliament
  • place further requirements on parties and donors to clarify the source of donations
  • amend the Representation of the People Act to provide a more flexible system for adding to the register of electors when an election is called while the register is being updated.

The Research Paper prepared by the House of Commons Library on the Bill last September is available at http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2008/rp08-074.pdf