House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Political Parties, Elections And Referendums Bill - continued          House of Commons

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Chapter III (Clauses 55 to 63) : Reporting of donations to registered parties

102.     These clauses set out the scheme for reporting large donations to the Electoral Commission and for publishing details of them.

Clause 55 and Schedule 5 : Quarterly donation report

103.     Clause 55 requires a party to prepare a donations report in respect of each quarter of a calendar year. A quarterly donations report will record any donation of £5,000 or more (or £1,000 or more in the case of a donation made to an accounting unit of a registered party) accepted during that quarter or any donation which, when added to other donations from the same source during that calendar year, brings the amount up to £5,000 or more (£1,000 in the case of donations to accounting units). It must also record any further donations of £1,000 or more from a source which, during the same calendar year, has already been recorded in a donation report. To comply with these requirements political parties will need to keep records of all donations received and accepted above the de minimis level of £200 (as set out in clause 46(2)(b)).

104.     A quarterly donations report will also record all donations received by the party from an impermissible or anonymous source during that period.

105.     Where a party has received no donations which fall to be recorded, it will be required to report to that effect.

106.     Subsection (11) gives effect to Schedule 5 which makes additional provision as to the information to be included in a quarterly donation report. In particular, the treasurer is required to record, in respect of each recordable donation, the identity of the donor (including their name and address), the value of the donation and the circumstances in which the donation was made.

Clause 56 : Weekly donation reports during general election periods

107.     During a parliamentary general election period, clause 56 requires donation reports to be sent to the Electoral Commission in respect of each seven-day period (and any final period of less than seven days). Weekly donations reports differ from the quarterly donations reports in that they will include disclosable donations received whether or not they are eventually accepted. Only donations of £5,000 or more made to a party or, in the case of a party with accounting units, to the central organisation of a party need to be recorded in the weekly reports. The general election period is defined for the purpose of this clause as the period commencing with the date of the announcement of Her Majesty's intention to dissolve Parliament and ending with the date of the poll. In the fifteen general elections since the Second World War the length of this period has, on average, been thirty-three days.

Clause 57 : Exemptions from section 56

108.     Clause 57 enables any registered party which does not intend to field candidates at a particular general election to be exempted from the requirement to submit weekly donations reports.

Clause 58 : Submission of donation reports to Commission

109.     Clause 58 requires the submission of quarterly donations reports within thirty days and of weekly donations reports within seven days of the end of the period to which they relate, and makes it an offence for the treasurer to fail to submit donations reports or to submit reports which do not comply with the requirements.

Clause 59 : Declaration by treasurer in donation report

110.     Clause 59 requires donations reports to be accompanied by a declaration made by the treasurer. The terms of the declaration in respect of quarterly reports are set out in subsection (2), while those for weekly reports is set out in subsection (3). It is an offence knowingly to make a false declaration (subsection (4)).

Clause 60 : Weekly donation reports in connection with elections other than general elections

111.     Clause 60 enables the requirement to submit weekly donations reports to be applied (with modifications) by order to elections to the European Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Clause 61 : Reporting of multiple small donations

112.     Clause 61 is a counter-evasion provision. Under clause 46(2)(b) a donation of less than £200 is disregarded for the purposes of Part IV. This de minimis limit is intended to alleviate the administrative burden on political parties arising from the controls on donations. In particular, a party will not need to verify the source of any sum below the de minimis limit and will not have to record the name and address of the donor. Whilst the £200 threshold reduces the administrative workload on parties, however, it opens up the prospect of evasion of the disclosure requirement by the device of multiple small donations each of which is below the de minimis limit. Clause 61 accordingly places a duty on a donor who makes a number of donations to a party in a year, each of which is less than £200 but which in aggregate exceed £5,000, to report the donations to the Electoral Commission. Reports must be delivered to the Commission by the end of January following the year in which the donations were made. The donor is required to report to the Electoral Commission, rather than the registered party concerned, because the latter may not have kept records of the receipt of the individual donations and could not, therefore, verify any information provided by the donor.

Clause 62 : Register of recordable donations

113.     The Electoral Commission is required by subsection (1) to maintain a register of all reported donations. To protect the privacy and safety of individual donors, the published register will not include their home addresses.

Clause 63 : Special provision for Northern Ireland parties

114.     Clause 63 enables the Secretary of State by order to exempt Northern Ireland parties (defined as registered parties represented in the Northern Ireland Assembly or which have one or more Members of the House of Commons elected for Northern Ireland constituencies) and/or donations to them from the scope of any or all of the provisions of Part IV of the Bill. The intention is to allow suitable arrangements to be made, along the lines recommended in the Neill Committee report, in recognition of the special circumstances which apply in Northern Ireland.

Chapter IV : Control of donations to individuals and members associations

Clause 64 and Schedule 6 : Control of donations to individuals and members associations

115.     Clause 64 gives effect to Schedule 6 which applies, with appropriate modifications, the provisions of Chapters I to III to donations made to individuals and members associations for their own use or benefit. (Donations made to individual party members or officers for the benefit of a party would be regarded as donations to the party (clause 45(4)) for the purposes of Part IV.)

116.     The controls set out in Schedule 6 apply to donations made to individual members of a registered party, members associations and holders of relevant elective offices. Paragraph 1(6) defines a 'members association' as an organisation which is comprised wholly or mainly of members of the party. These are groups which lie outside the formal structure of the party for the purposes of controls on funding and which, therefore, will not have been included in the scheme proposed and adopted in accordance with clause 22. They would, for example, include groups which are formed within parties to champion particular policies or ideas (such as the Tribune Group or the Tory Reform Group). Paragraph 1(8) identifies the relevant elective offices, the holders of which are subject to the controls, namely that of Member of Parliament, Member of the European Parliament elected in the UK, member of a devolved legislature, member of a local authority (other than a parish or community council), member of the Greater London Assembly and Mayor of London or any other elected mayor within the meaning of Part II of the Local Government Act 2000.

117.     A donation made to an individual party member or members association would be subject to the controls set out in Schedule 6 if it was either offered to or retained by an individual or association for their own use or benefit in connection with political activity within the party. Such activities include the conduct of internal elections to positions within the party (for example, that of party leader or positions on the party's management committee) and the conduct of "primaries" for the selection of a party candidate for an elective office (for example, that of Mayor of London). A controlled donation to a holder of a relevant elective office would be a donation offered to or accepted by him in connection with any political activities of his. Such activities might include campaigning for re-election or the running of his office. Donations made to individuals or associations for their private use or for purely social purposes would not be subject to control unless, despite the intention of the donor, the donation was used in connection with political activities within the party.

118.     Paragraph 2 of Schedule 6 defines "donation" for these purposes in terms equivalent to those in relation to donations to a party (see clause 45(2)). Paragraph 3 defines those payments and services which are not to be regarded as a donation. These include any remuneration or allowances paid to the holder of a relevant elective office in that capacity.

119.     Paragraphs 5 to 7 of Schedule 6 apply restrictions, including those on permissible sources, on the acceptance of donations by individuals and members associations equivalent to those applying to registered political parties under clauses 48 to 54.

120.     Paragraphs 8 and 9 of Schedule 6 require the disclosure to the Electoral Commission by an individual or members association of the source and amount of any donation of £1,000 (including aggregate amounts) or more within thirty days of its acceptance as well as the disclosure of any donation received from an impermissible or anonymous source. Paragraph 10 creates offences in relation to failure to deliver a required report and the delivery of an incomplete report, as well as providing for the forfeiture of a donation where failure to comply with the requirements of Schedule 6 is due to an intention to conceal the existence or the true amount of the donation in question. Paragraph 11 makes provision, equivalent to that under clause 59, for any report as to a disclosable donation to be accompanied by a declaration attesting that the donation has been received from a permissible source.

121.     Paragraph 12 makes equivalent provision to clause 61 to counter evasion by a donor of the disclosure requirements by making multiple donations under the de minimis threshold of £200. Paragraph 13 provides for the inclusion of donations disclosed in accordance with Schedule 6 in the register of disclosable donations established under clause 62.

122.     One effect of these provisions is to require that donations made to a holder of an elective office, which are disclosed in a register of members' interests, will also be subject to the reporting requirements set out in Schedule 6. This will mean some overlapping of registers of members' interests and the Electoral Commission's register of disclosable donations. But the controls on donations to MPs and others will not in any way circumscribe the ability of the House of Commons or the devolved legislatures to regulate the interests and conduct of their members.

Part V: Control of campaign expenditure

Clause 65 and Schedule 7 : Campaign expenditure

123.     Clause 65 defines the terms "campaign expenditure", "election campaign" and "for election purposes" for the purposes of the controls on registered political parties' election expenditure as provided for in this Part of the Bill. Subsection (2) defines "campaign expenditure" by reference to lists of qualifying expenses set out in Schedule 7. Part I of Schedule 7 lists direct expenses incurred for election purposes. Any expenditure on a matter set out in this list during the relevant period for an election (as defined in Schedule 8) will need to be accounted for as campaign expenditure. Thus, for example, the full production costs of all party political broadcasts screened in the 365 days before a parliamentary general election would count as campaign expenditure. Part II of Schedule 7 provides for the apportionment of a party's normal running costs during the relevant period for an election between costs incurred for election purposes and costs incurred for other purposes. To assist parties with such apportionments and more generally in identifying what does or does not constitute campaign expenditure, paragraph 6 of Schedule 7 provides for the Electoral Commission to prepare a code of practice giving guidance on such matters. Before a code of practice comes into effect it must be approved by the Secretary of State (in this case, the Home Secretary) and laid before Parliament. Although the code of practice is not made by statutory instrument, an equivalent of the negative resolution procedure applies so that either House of Parliament may resolve not to approve the draft code.

124.     Paragraph 7 of Schedule 7 empowers the Secretary of State to amend Parts I or II of the Schedule by order. An order made under this provision may either give effect to a recommendation of the Commission or be made after consultation with the Commission.

125.     The definition of the term "for election purposes" is cast in broad terms so as to capture all expenditure by a party that is incurred in order to enhance its electoral prospects. However, excluded from the definition is any expenditure incurred with a view to enhancing the prospects of a particular candidate. Such expenditure is already subject to separate controls under the provisions of enactments relating to elections. The relevant enactments are:

a) in the case of parliamentary and local government elections (including elections to the Greater London Authority), the Representation of the People Act 1983;

b) in the case of Scottish Parliamentary elections, the Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 1999 (SI 1999/787);

c) in the case of elections to the National Assembly for Wales, the National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) Order 1999 (SI 1999/450);

d) in the case of elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly, an order made under section 34 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998;

e) in the case of elections to the European Parliament, the European Parliamentary Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/1214).

Subsection (8) provides that in the case of the list-based elections to the European and Scottish Parliaments and to the Welsh Assembly, expenses incurred for the benefit of one or more candidates on a party's list are to be treated as campaign expenditure incurred by the party and, as such, accounted for in a return made by the party under clause 73. Expenditure by candidates included in a party's list for return as a London member of the Greater London Assembly will continue to be accounted for in a return made under section 81 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Clause 66 : Notional campaign expenditure

126.     The Neill Committee's report recommended that national expenditure limits should cover benefits in kind as well as cash expenditure and that the nature and value of such benefits in kind should be itemised separately in parties' accounts of expenditure. Subsection (1) therefore provides that campaign expenditure not only includes direct expenditure by a registered party but also benefits in kind (ie. property, services or facilities provided free of charge or at a discount of more than 10% of their market value) conferred on a party by a third person. Subsection (4) requires that any such benefits in kind must be accounted for by means of a declaration, which will be included in the return of election expenditure required under clause 73, as to the value of the benefit (except where its market value, or the difference between what the party pays and its value, is less than £100).

Clause 67 : Officers of registered party with responsibility for campaign expenditure

127.     The registered treasurer of a party is responsible for accounting for the party's campaign expenditure, and he therefore performs a function similar to that of a candidate's election agent under the Representation of the People Act 1983. In the same way as an election agent may, in a county constituency, delegate his functions to a deputy election agent, clause 67 provides for the appointment of up to twelve deputy treasurers. Such number would enable a United Kingdom-wide party to appoint a deputy to cover each of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the nine English regions, although whether the remit of the deputy is confined to a particular geographical area is a matter for the registered treasurer. The names of any deputy treasurers and the address of their office is included in a party's entry in the register of political parties (subsection (6)).

Clauses 68 to 71 : General restrictions relating to election expenditure

128.     In order to ensure proper observance of the limits on campaign expenditure by parties, clause 68 and 69 require that all such expenditure, and any payment in respect of such expenditure, must be authorised or made by the registered treasurer, a deputy treasurer or a person authorised in writing by either the treasurer or a deputy treasurer. Similarly, clause 70 requires that any claim for payment in respect of campaign expenditure must be sent to the treasurer or a deputy treasurer or other authorised person. These provisions (and clause 71, which provides for disputed claims) are similar to the provisions in Part II of the Representation of the People Act 1983 concerning election expenditure by candidates and their agents.

Clause 72 and Schedule 8: Limits on campaign expenditure

129.     Clause 72 and Schedule 8 set out the financial limits on campaign expenditure. The limits apply to the following elections: a parliamentary general election; a European Parliamentary general election; a Scottish Parliamentary general election; an ordinary election to the National Assembly for Wales; and a general election to the Northern Ireland Assembly. No limits are, as such, imposed on campaign expenditure by political parties in connection with local government elections, although any such expenditure which is incurred during the relevant campaign period for one of the above elections would count towards the expenditure limit for the election in question.

130.     The scheme provides for expenditure to be apportioned between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The reason for apportioning campaign expenditure to each part of the United Kingdom is that the campaign periods for parliamentary or European Parliamentary general elections and elections to the devolved legislatures may overlap and, without provisions for apportioning expenditure, an expenditure limit for elections to the devolved legislatures could, in such circumstances, be avoided.

Parliamentary general elections

131.     The limits for parliamentary general elections are set out in paragraph 3 of Schedule 8. The maximum amount a party may spend is determined by the number of constituencies contested. A party receives an allowance of £30,000 for each constituency contested, subject to a minimum threshold. The maximum amount of campaign expenditure a party could incur if it contested all the parliamentary constituencies in each part of the United Kingdom is set out in the table overleaf:

No of parliamentary seats

Maximum expenditure limit £'000

England

529

15,870

Scotland

72

2,160

Wales

40

1,200

TOTAL Great Britain

641

19,230

Northern Ireland

18

540

TOTAL United Kingdom

659

19,770

 

132.     The minimum expenditure limit is set at 5 per cent of the maximum limit rounded up to the nearest multiple of £30,000 (paragraph 3(3)). This minimum expenditure limit will ensure that a party which campaigns primarily in local government elections, but also puts up a handful of candidates in a parliamentary general election, does not inadvertently breach the expenditure limits for that election. For example, a party that spent £200,000 campaigning in advance of local elections in May, but subsequently put up only three candidates at a parliamentary general election the following October would, but for the minimum expenditure limit, have committed the offence in clause 72(4).

133.     The campaign expenditure limits for parliamentary general elections ordinarily apply to the 'relevant period' of 365 days ending with the date of the election (paragraph 3(5)(a)). Where one general election follows within a year of another, however, the relevant period for the second of these elections begins the day after the first general election and ends with the date of the second election. To take the example of 1974, the 'relevant period' for the October general election would have been the 224 days from 1 March 1974 (the day after the first general election in that year) to 10 October 1974 (the date of the second election).

General elections to European Parliament

134.     Paragraph 4 of Schedule 8 sets out the campaign expenditure limits for general elections to the European Parliament. As for the June 1999 elections in Great Britain, the expenditure limits are calculated by reference to the number of regions contested by a party multiplied by the total number of MEPs to be returned for those regions. A party receives an allowance of £45,000 for each MEP to be returned in each of the regions it contests. The maximum amount of campaign expenditure a party could incur if it stood for election in all the English regions and in Scotland and Wales and put up candidates in Northern Ireland is set out in the table opposite:

 

No of MEPs

Maximum expenditure limit £'000

England

East Midlands

Eastern

London

North East

North West

South East

South West

West Midlands

Yorkshire and The Humber

TOTAL England

 

6

8

10

4

10

11

7

8

7

71

 

270

360

450

180

450

495

315

360

315

3,195

Scotland

8

360

Wales

5

225

TOTAL Great Britain

84

3,780

Northern Ireland

3

135

TOTAL United Kingdom

87

3,915

 

135.     These limits on campaign expenditure by parties in European Parliamentary elections will replace those contained in regulation 15 of the European Parliamentary Elections Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/1214). The Regulations apply only to the elections in Great Britain; the equivalent regulations for Northern Ireland impose expenditure limits on candidates and not on parties (these limits will be retained).

136.     Paragraph 4(5) provides that the relevant period during which the campaign expenditure limits will apply is the period of four months ending with the date of the poll. The dates of elections to the European Parliament are by and large fixed. The date is governed by Article 10(2) of the Community Act concerning the election of the representatives of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage annexed to the decision of the Council of the European Communities dated 20 September 1976. Under that Article, elections take place every five years in the period corresponding to the first elections to the Parliament in 1979 unless the Council of Ministers acting unanimously determine otherwise; they have not done so. Article 9 of the Community Act provides that the elections to the European Parliament must for all Member States fall within the same period starting on a Thursday morning and ending on the following Sunday. The precise date of the poll is set by the Secretary of State by order under section 3D of the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1978 (as substituted by section 1 of the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999). Subject to any determination by the Council of Ministers under Article 10(2), the next European Parliamentary Election will therefore be held within the period Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 June 2004. If, as previously has been the case, the election is held on the Thursday, the relevant period for the election will be four months commencing on 11 February 2004 and ending on 10 June 2004.

General elections to Scottish Parliament                              

137.     Paragraph 5 of Schedule 8 sets out the campaign expenditure limits for ordinary and extraordinary general elections to the Scottish Parliament. The expenditure limits are calculated by reference to the number of constituencies and/or regions contested by a party. A party receives an allowance of £12,000 for each constituency contested and of £80,000 for each region contested. Under the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 1 to the Scotland Act 1998 there are 73 constituencies each returning one MSP and eight regions each returning seven regional MSPs. Accordingly, the maximum amount of campaign expenditure a party could incur if it stood for election in all constituencies and regions is £1,516,000.

138.     These limits on campaign expenditure by parties in Scottish Parliamentary elections will replace those contained in Article 42 of the Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 1999 (SI 1999/787).

139.     Paragraph 5(4) provides that the relevant period during which the campaign expenditure limits will normally apply is, in the case of an ordinary general election, the four-month period before the date of the poll. Section 2(2) of the Scotland Act 1998 provides (subject to subsection (5) of section 2) that ordinary general elections are held on the first Thursday in May in the fourth calendar year following that in which the previous ordinary general election was held. Section 2(5) of the Scotland Act makes provision for the date of the poll to be brought forward or moved back by no more than one month. Subject to the exercise of the power in section 2(5), the next ordinary general election to the Scottish Parliament will therefore be held on Thursday 1 May 2003 and the relevant period for that election will commence on 2 January 2003.

140.     Paragraph 5(5) provides that the relevant period in the case of an extraordinary general election is the period beginning with the date when the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament proposes a date for the poll for the election (in accordance with section 3(1) of the Scotland Act) and ending with the date of the poll for the election. By virtue of the timetable for Scottish Parliamentary elections laid down by Rule 1 of the Scottish Parliamentary Election Rules (contained in Schedule 2 to the Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 1999), the relevant period for an extraordinary election must be a minimum of 22 working days (that is excluding weekends and bank holidays), although in practice it is likely to be longer.

Ordinary elections to Welsh Assembly                              

141.     Paragraph 6 of Schedule 8 sets out the campaign expenditure limits for ordinary elections to the Welsh Assembly (the Government of Wales Act 1998 makes no provision for extraordinary elections). The expenditure limits are calculated by reference to the number of constituencies and/or regions contested by a party. A party receives an allowance of £10,000 for each constituency contested and of £40,000 for each region contested. Under the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 1 to the Government of Wales Act there are 40 Assembly constituencies each returning one AM and five Assembly electoral regions each returning four regional AMs. Accordingly, the maximum amount of campaign expenditure a party could incur if it stood for election in all constituencies and regions is £600,000.

142.     These limits on campaign expenditure by parties in ordinary elections to the Welsh Assembly will replace those contained in Article 47 of the National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) Order 1999 (SI 1999/450).

143.     Paragraph 6(4) provides that the relevant period during which the campaign expenditure limits will normally apply is the four-month period before the date of the poll. Section 3(2) of the Government of Wales Act provides (subject to section 3(3)) that ordinary elections are held on the first Thursday in May in the fourth calendar year following that in which the previous ordinary election was held. Section 3(3) of the 1998 Act makes provision for the date of the poll to be brought forward or moved back by no more than one month. Subject to the exercise of the power in section 3(3), the next ordinary election to the National Assembly will therefore be held on Thursday 1 May 2003 and the relevant period for that election will commence on 2 January 2003.

General elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly                    

144.     Paragraph 7 of Schedule 8 sets out the campaign expenditure limits for ordinary and extraordinary elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly. The expenditure limits are calculated by reference to the number of constituencies contested for a party. A party receives an allowance of £17,000 for each constituency contested. Under the provisions of section 33 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 there are 18 constituencies each returning six members of the Assembly. Accordingly, the maximum amount of campaign expenditure a party could incur if it stood for election in all constituencies is £306,000.

145.     Paragraph 7(4) provides that the relevant period during which the campaign expenditure will normally apply is the four-month period before the date of the poll. Section 31(2) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 provides that (subject to section 31(3)) the date of the next ordinary election will be Thursday 1 May 2003. Section 31(1) of that Act provides (again subject to section 31(3)) that subsequent ordinary elections are to be held on the first Thursday in May in the fourth calendar year following that in which the previous ordinary election was held. Section 31(3) of the 1998 Act makes provision for the date of the poll to be brought forward or moved back by no more than two months. Subject to the exercise of the power in section 31(3), the relevant period for the next ordinary election will be the period 2 January 2003 to 1 May 2003.

146.     Paragraph 7(5) provides that the relevant period in the case of an extraordinary general election is the period beginning with the date when the Secretary of State proposes a date for the poll for the election under section 32 of the 1998 Act and ending with the date of the poll. As no provision about Assembly elections has yet been made under section 34(4) of the 1998 Act, there is at present no other constraint as to the length of the relevant period.

Limits applying in special circumstances                              

147.     The definition of campaign expenditure in clause 65 is such that campaign expenditure incurred with one particular election in mind cannot be readily delineated from campaign expenditure incurred with a second election in mind. Indeed, an advertisement placed in a newspaper promoting a registered party in general terms may be intended by that party to enhance their electoral prospects at all elections in the coming weeks or months. In recognition of this, Part III of Schedule 6 provides for alternative campaign expenditure limits to apply when the relevant periods for different elections overlap. In most cases, the limits for individual elections are aggregated and applied to a new relevant period which is the aggregate of the relevant periods for the two or more overlapping elections.

Combination of elections to European Parliament and to devolved legislature     

148.     Paragraph 8 of Schedule 8 determines the campaign expenditure limits in circumstances where the relevant period for a European Parliamentary election overlaps with the relevant period for an election to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly or Northern Ireland Assembly. If the elections to the European Parliament and the devolved legislature are held according to the fixed timetables provided for in the relevant statutes, such overlapping of relevant periods will happen only once every twenty years. The next occurrence will be in 2019 when the elections to the three devolved legislatures would be held on Thursday 2 May followed, five weeks later, with the elections to the European Parliament on Thursday 9 June.

149.     Paragraph 8(2) provides that where the relevant period (as defined in paragraphs 4 to 7) for these elections overlap the limits that would have applied to the European election and to the election to a devolved legislature are to be aggregated. Where a party contested all the constituencies and/or regions in both elections, the maximum amount of campaign expenditure that could be incurred would be as set out in the table below:

Maximum amount in respect of European election £'000

Maximum amount in respect of election to devolved legislature £'000

Aggregate limit applying to both elections £'000

Expenditure in Scotland

360

1,516

1,876

Expenditure in Wales

225

600

825

Expenditure in Northern Ireland

135

306

441

 

150.     Paragraph 8(3) defines the relevant period in respect of which the aggregate campaign expenditure limits are to apply. Were the European Parliamentary elections and the elections to the devolved legislatures to overlap, as scheduled, in 2019 the relevant period in that instance would begin on 3 January 2019 (four months before the date of the ordinary elections to the devolved legislatures) and end on 9 June 2019 (the date of the election to the European Parliament).

Combined limits where parliamentary election pending               

151.     Paragraph 9 of Schedule 8 determines the campaign expenditure limits that apply when the period during which a parliamentary general election is pending overlaps with the relevant period for a European Parliamentary election and/or an election to a devolved legislature. Paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 8 defines the period during which a parliamentary general election is pending as the period beginning with the date on which Her Majesty's intention to dissolve Parliament is announced and ending with the date of the election. Where such an overlap occurs, and a party is contesting each of the elections, the expenditure limits that would apply to that party in respect of each election (by virtue of paragraphs 3 to 8, as the case may be) are aggregated. A party that contested all constituencies and/or regions in each of the elections would be able to incur campaign expenditure up to the limits set out in the following table:

Maximum limit for overlapping parliamentary and European Parliamentary polls £'000

Maximum limit for overlapping parliamentary and devolved polls £'000

 

Maximum limit for overlapping parliamentary, European and devolved polls £'000

Expenditure in England

19,065

-

-

Expenditure in Scotland

2,520

3,676

4,036

Expenditure in Wales

1,425

1,800

2,025

Expenditure in Northern Ireland

675

846

981

 

152.     Paragraph 9(3) defines the relevant period during which the aggregate expenditure limits would apply. The limits of the relevant period are dependent on whether the parliamentary election takes place either, on the one hand, on the same day as or later than the other election(s) or, on the other hand, earlier than the other election(s). Two examples will illustrate this. First, if a Scottish Parliamentary election was held on 5 May 2011 and was followed by a parliamentary general election on 2 June 2011 (having been announced prior to 5 May), the relevant period would run from 3 June 2010 to 2 June 2011. Second, if a parliamentary general election was held on 31 March 2011 and was followed by a Scottish Parliamentary election on 5 May 2011, the relevant period would run from 1 April 2010 to 5 May 2011.

153.     Paragraph 9(4) determines the campaign expenditure limits to apply where two parliamentary general elections are pending during different parts of the relevant period (as defined in paragraph 4 to 8) for a European Parliamentary election or an election to a devolved legislature or a combination of the two. For this provision to operate, two parliamentary general elections would need to be held within some four months of each other (the two 1974 elections were held nine months and ten days apart). A possible scenario would be:

10 February 2009

Four-month period preceding a European Parliamentary election begins.

24 February 2009

Parliamentary general election takes place (having been called in January).

26 May 2009

Her Majesty announces her intention to dissolve Parliament.

9 June 2009

European Parliamentary election takes place.

7 July 2009

Second parliamentary election takes place.

 

154.     In such a scenario, paragraph 9(4) determines the campaign expenditure limits to apply in "the first relevant period" (as defined in paragraph 9(5)) and "the second relevant period" (as defined in paragraph 9(6)). The first relevant period would, in this example, be the period beginning 26 February 2009 (that is, 365 days before the date of the first parliamentary general election) and ending on 26 May 2009 (the date on which Her Majesty announced her intention to dissolve Parliament in connection with the second parliamentary general election). The limit on campaign expenditure that a party could incur during the first relevant period would be the aggregate of the limits that would apply to the first parliamentary election and the European election by virtue of paragraphs 3 and 4 respectively.

155.     In the same example, the second relevant period would run from 27 May 2009 (the day after Her Majesty announced her intention to dissolve Parliament in connection with the second parliamentary general election) to 7 July 2009 (the date of the second parliamentary general election). The limit on campaign expenditure that a party could incur during the second relevant period would be the limit that would apply to the second parliamentary election by virtue of paragraph 3.

Combination of limit under paragraph 9 and other limits               

156.     Paragraph 10 of Schedule 8 determines the campaign expenditure limits in circumstances where a combination of elections that would fall within the ambit of paragraph 9 is in turn combined with one or more other elections to the European Parliament or to a devolved legislature that would fall within the ambit of any of paragraphs 4 to 8. An example of such a combination would be:

9 June 2009

European Parliamentary election takes place.

14 September 2009

Her Majesty's intention to dissolve Parliament is announced.

5 October 2009

The Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament sets a date for an extraordinary general election.

12 November 2009

The parliamentary general election takes place and, at the same time, the extraordinary general election to the Scottish Parliament.

 

157. In such a scenario, paragraph 10(3) provides that a party contesting all three elections would attract an expenditure limit in Scotland which is the aggregate of the limits that would apply for each of the three elections. The limits to apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland would be the aggregate of the limits that would apply to the parliamentary and European Parliamentary elections.

158. The combined period (as defined in paragraph 10(4)) in the case of the above example would begin on 13 November 2008 (that is, 365 days before the date of the parliamentary general election) and end on 12 November 2009 (the date of the combined poll). By virtue of paragraph 10(5) the limits on campaign expenditure for the European Parliamentary election on 9 June 2009, as determined in accordance with paragraph 4 of Schedule 6, would continue to apply to the relevant period for that election (10 February 2009 to 9 June 2009).

Combination of parliamentary general election and other election, or elections, falling within paragraphs 4 to 8                               

159. Paragraph 11 of Schedule 8 determines the limit on campaign expenditure where the relevant period for a parliamentary general election (as defined in paragraph 3) overlaps with the relevant period for another election, or elections (as defined in any of paragraphs 4 to 8) and paragraph 9 does not apply. An example would be:

4 January 2007

Four month period before Scottish ordinary election begins.

3 May 2007

Scottish ordinary election.

3 September 2007

Presiding Officer sets date for an extraordinary election to the Scottish Parliament.

11 October 2007

Scottish extraordinary election.

3 March 2008

Her Majesty announces her intention to dissolve Parliament.

10 April 2008

Parliamentary election.

 

160.     Under this example the limit applying to a party which contested all three elections in Scotland would be the aggregate of the limits provided for in paragraphs 3 and 5 in respect of each election. The aggregate would apply for "the combined period" (as defined in paragraph 11(5)), namely the period beginning on 4 January 2007 (that is, four months before the Scottish ordinary election) and ending on 10 April 2008 (the date of the parliamentary election).

161.     By virtue of paragraph 11(6), the limits provided for in paragraph 5 would continue to apply to the relevant periods for the two Scottish Parliamentary elections (namely, the periods 4 January to 3 May 2007 and 3 September to 11 October 2007).

Expenditure notionally incurred during period when limits apply

162.     Paragraph 12 of Schedule 8 is intended to avoid parties circumventing the expenditure limits by incurring campaign expenditure in advance of the period during which restrictions apply. Any expenditure on property, services or facilities (for example billboard advertisements) purchased in advance of a relevant period, but for use during that period, will nonetheless count towards the limit on campaign expenditure for that period.

 
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Prepared: 21 December 1999