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Session 1997-98
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Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)

Registration of Political Parties Bill
  The Bill makes provision about the registration of political parties.
  Clause 1 creates a register of political parties and provides for a registrar to maintain it.
  Clause 2 sets out the procedure for applying for inclusion in the register and the conditions for inclusion.
  Clause 3 requires the registrar to grant an application for inclusion in the register unless the proposed registered name would be likely to result in the party being confused by voters with a party which is already registered or contravenes other specified conditions.
  Clause 4 requires the registrar to include the particulars given in a party's application in the register.
  Clause 5 permits political parties to register emblems, subject to conditions similar to those which apply to registered names.
  Clause 6 enables applications for the amendment of entries in the register.
  Clause 7 makes provision for a registration to lapse unless it is confirmed within three months of any anniversary of its inclusion in the register.
  Clause 8 requires the registrar to remove an entry from the register if it lapses, or if an application for removal is made, and provides for an entry to remain on the register for a transitional period.
  Clause 9 requires an application for the amendment or removal of a registration to be signed by a party's responsible officers.
  Clause 10 enables the registrar to seek advice from a Committee of Members of the House of Commons, appointed by the Speaker for the purpose, before deciding questions as to the inclusion or amendment of entries in the register.
  Clause 11 enables the Secretary of State to make regulations about public access to the register.
  Clause 12 enables the Secretary of State to require the registrar to send a copy of the register to the Secretary of State or any other specified person.
  Clause 14 prevents broadcasters from transmitting a party political broadcast on behalf of a party which is not registered.
  Clause 15 restricts the application of section 170 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (security at party conferences) to registered political parties.
  Clauses 16 to 18 make transitional provisions to allow parties represented in the House of Commons to register names which they are currently using in the first stage and for other parties to register in the second stage and provide for transitional grounds for refusal to register where the proposed name or emblem is associated with another party.
  Clause 19 makes it a criminal offence knowingly or recklessly to provide the registrar with false information.
  Schedule 1 sets out the information which a political party must provide in its application for registration.
  Schedule 2 amends the Parliamentary Elections Rules to give returning officers the power to reject nomination papers which include a description which is likely to lead voters to associate the candidate with a registered political party. It also provides for a new form of ballot paper which will include the emblems of registered parties.
 Financial effects of the Bill
  The Bill will not lead to any net increase in public expenditure. Costs will have to be incurred in setting up the system of registration in the current financial year 1988/99. Those costs will be found from within existing Home Office provision. It is intended that the ongoing running costs of the registration scheme should be covered by the fees to be charged by the registrar.
 Effects of the Bill on Public Service Manpower
  There will be negligible effects on public service manpower. Registration will be carried out by existing staff at Companies House.
 Business Compliance Cost Assessment
  Political parties will have to pay an annual registration fee as from time to time determined by order of the Secretary of State.
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© Parliamentary copyright 1998
Prepared 14 May 1998