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Northern Ireland Assembly Elections Bill


Northern Ireland Assembly Elections Bill



Explanatory notes to the Bill, prepared by the Northern Ireland Office, are published

separately as Bill 74–EN.


Mr Secretary Murphy has made the following statement under section 19(1)(a) of the

Human Rights Act 1998:

In my view the provisions of the Northern Ireland Assembly Elections Bill are

compatible with the Convention rights.

Bill 74 53/2

Northern Ireland Assembly Elections Bill






Make provision about the date of the poll for the election of the next Northern

Ireland Assembly, and for disregarding certain days for the purposes of the

period after a poll within which an Assembly must meet; and for connected


Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

 1     Dates of election, etc

     (1)    The Northern Ireland (Date of Next Assembly Poll) Order 2001 (SI 2001/3959)

is revoked.

     (2)    In section 31 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (c. 47) (“the 1998 Act”), which

provides for dates of Assembly elections and dissolutions, etc—


           (a)           for subsection (2) there is substituted—

                  “(2)                    The date of the poll for the election of the Assembly next

following the Assembly elected under section 2 of the Northern

Ireland (Elections) Act 1998 shall be 29th May 2003; and the

Assembly elected under that section shall be dissolved on 28th


April 2003.”,

           (b)           in subsection (3), “or (2)” is omitted,

           (c)           in subsection (5), at the end there is added “, as shall any day on which

section 1 of the Northern Ireland Act 2000 is in force”.

     (3)    Subsections (4) to (6) apply in relation to the ordinary general election the poll


for which is to be held on 29th May 2003.

     (4)    Paragraph 7 of each of Schedules 9 and 10 to the Political Parties, Elections and

Referendums Act 2000 (c. 41) (which provide for limits on campaign

expenditure and controlled expenditure respectively in relation to Assembly

elections) is to have effect as if “the relevant period” for the purposes of that


paragraph were the period beginning four months before 29th May 2003 and

ending on that date (and sub-paragraphs (3) and (4) of that paragraph are not

to apply).

Bill 74 53/2

Northern Ireland Assembly Elections Bill



     (5)    In calculating campaign expenditure or controlled expenditure incurred in the

relevant period (as provided for in subsection (4)), any such expenditure

incurred in connection with the extraordinary general election provided for by

the Order revoked by subsection (1) is to count towards the total, but only if it

was incurred during that relevant period.


     (6)    The entry for Rule 1 of the Parliamentary Elections Rules (timetable) in

Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Assembly (Elections) Order 2001 (SI 2001/

2599) (which provides for the application with modifications to Assembly

elections of provisions of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (c. 2) and

other Acts) is to have effect as if the first entry in the second column of the


substituted Timetable (which relates to publication of notice of an election)

read “Not later than the 20th day before the date of the poll.”.

     (7)    Subsection (1) does not revive any duty of the Secretary of State under section

32 of the 1998 Act (which provides for extraordinary elections) which he has

already discharged.


     (8)    In this section, “Assembly” means Northern Ireland Assembly.

 2     Short title

This Act may be cited as the Northern Ireland Assembly Elections Act 2003.

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Revised 13 March 2003