Political Parties elections and Referendums Bill - continued        House of Commons

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Transitional arrangements
Financial structure of existing registered party.     30. - (1) This section applies to any party registered under the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998 immediately before the appointed day.
      (2) The party must, within the period of six weeks beginning with the appointed day, send to the Commission-
    (a) a copy of the party's constitution (within the meaning of section 22); and
    (b) a draft of the scheme which the party proposes to adopt for the purposes of section 22 if approved by the Commission under that section;
  and subsections (2) to (6) of that section apply in connection with any such scheme and its approval by the Commission.
      (3) Once the party has sent the draft scheme to the Commission, the draft scheme shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as if it were a scheme approved by the Commission and adopted by the party under section 22 until-
    (a) such time as the scheme, or any revised scheme submitted under subsection (6) of that section, is in fact approved by the Commission under that section, or
    (b) the end of the period of nine months beginning with the appointed day (or such longer period as the Commission may determine in relation to the party);
  whichever is the earlier.
      (4) If the draft scheme, or any such revised scheme, has not been so approved by the end of the period which applies for the purposes of subsection (3)(b)-
    (a) the Commission shall forthwith send the party a copy of the scheme incorporating such modifications as the Commission consider appropriate; and
    (b) the scheme, as so modified, shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as if it had been approved by the Commission, and adopted by the party, under section 22.
      (5) The party must also, within the period mentioned in subsection (2), give a notification to the Commission under this subsection.
      (6) A notification under subsection (5) must-
    (a) give the name and home address of a person to be registered as the party's treasurer; and
    (b) be signed by the registered leader or nominating officer and by the proposed registered treasurer.
      (7) Where the party is a party with accounting units, a notification under subsection (5) must also give in relation to each accounting unit-
    (a) the name of its treasurer, and
    (b) the address of its headquarters or, if it has no headquarters, an address to which communications to the accounting unit may be sent.
      (8) A notification under subsection (5) may be signed by the same person in his capacity as registered leader or nominating officer and in his capacity as proposed registered treasurer, but in that case it must be apparent from the notification that he is signing it in both of those capacities.
      (9) On receiving a notification under subsection (5) the Commission shall include in the party's entry in the register-
    (a) the name of the treasurer given in the notification; and
    (b) if subsection (7) applies, each of the names and addresses so given in accordance with that subsection.
      (10) If the party fails to comply with subsection (2) or (5), then during the period ("the suspension period") which-
    (a) begins immediately after the end of the period mentioned in subsection (2), and
    (b) ends with such time as the Commission receive the documents mentioned in subsection (2)(a) and (b) or (as the case may be) a notification under subsection (5),
  the party shall be treated for all purposes relating to elections or referendums as if it were not a registered party.
      (11) Subsection (10) shall not affect, for the purposes of section 24(2) or 25(2), the registration during the suspension period of the name of the party or any of its emblems.
      (12) Once the suspension period has ended in any case where the party failed to comply with subsection (2)-
    (a) section 22(5) and (6) shall apply in connection with the approval of the party's draft scheme by the Commission; and
    (b) subsections (3) and (4) above shall also so apply, except that in subsection (3) the reference to nine months beginning with the appointed day shall be read as a reference to six months after the end of the suspension period.
Assistance by Commission for existing registered parties.     31. - (1) The Commission may, in accordance with a scheme prepared by them for the purposes of this section, provide assistance for existing parties with a view to helping them to meet, or to reducing, the expenses falling to be initially incurred by them in order to comply with Parts III and IV.
      (2) The assistance which may be so provided to an existing party may take the form of-
    (a) a grant to the party, or
    (b) the provision of non-financial benefits to the party (such as the provision of computer software free of charge),
  or both, as the scheme may determine.
      (3) The scheme may provide for an existing party's entitlement to assistance under this section to depend on the Commission's being satisfied that the expenses falling to be incurred by the party as mentioned in subsection (1) exceed an amount specified in the scheme.
      (4) Any grant under this section may be made subject to such conditions as the Commission consider appropriate.
      (5) The total expenditure incurred by the Commission in providing assistance under this section (whether by grants or otherwise) shall not exceed £500,000.
      (6) The Commission shall publish the scheme in such manner as they consider appropriate.
      (7) In this section "existing party" means any party registered under the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998 immediately before the appointed day.
Party political broadcasts.     32. - (1) A broadcaster shall not include in its broadcasting services any party political broadcast made on behalf of a party which is not a registered party.
      (2) In this Act "broadcaster" means-
    (a) the holder of a licence under the Broadcasting Act 1990 or 1996 ,
    (b) the British Broadcasting Corporation, or
    (c) Sianel Pedwar Cymru.
Amendment of parliamentary elections rules.     33. - (1) The rules set out in Schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983 (the parliamentary elections rules) shall be amended as follows.
      (2) In rule 6 (nomination of candidates), for paragraph (3) there shall be substituted-
      (3) The description, if any, must consist of either-
    (a) a description (of not more than 6 words in length) which is authorised as mentioned in rule 6A(1) below; or
    (b) the word "Independent".
      (3) In rule 6A(3) (nomination papers: name of registered political parties), for "the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998" there shall be substituted "Part II of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000".
      (4) In the Appendix of Forms, in the form of nomination paper, for "Merchant" there shall be substituted "Independent".
False statements: offence.     34. A person commits an offence if-
    (a) he knowingly or recklessly makes a statement to the Commission which is false in any material particular, and
    (b) the statement is made, or purports to be made, on behalf of a party for any purpose of this Part of this Act.
Interpretation and application of Part II.     35. - (1) In this Part-
    "the appointed day" means the day appointed under section 149(2) for the coming into force of section 20;
    "financial year", in relation to a registered party, shall be construed in accordance with section 36(6);
    "party" includes any organisation or person;
    "the register" means the register of political parties and "registered" shall be construed accordingly;
    "relevant election" shall be construed in accordance with section 19(3).
      (2) Where a registered party does not have any candidates at any relevant election which is not an election of councillors for a parish or community-
    (a) nothing in this Part so far as relating to the registration of a treasurer for a registered party applies to the party, and
    (b) sections 22 and 23 and Parts III and IV also do not apply to the party.
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Prepared 18 February 2000