Make further provision about the election of the next Northern Ireland
Assembly; to make further provision about periods when section 1 of the
Northern Ireland Act 2000 is in force; and for connected purposes.
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 Election of next Assembly
(1) The Northern Ireland Act 1998 (c. 47) (in this Act referred to as “the 1998 Act”)
is amended as provided in subsections (2) and (3).
(2) In section 31 (which provides for dates of Assembly elections and dissolutions,
etc), 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 (and dissolved on 28th April 2003) shall be a date to be
specified in an order made by the Secretary of State.”
(3) In section 96 (orders and regulations), after subsection (1) there is inserted—
“(1A) An order under section 31(2) shall be made by statutory instrument,
which shall be laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State after it is
(4) The following apply in relation to the ordinary general election the poll for
which is to be held on the date specified in an order under section 31(2) of the
(a) 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.”, and
(b) 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
with the date when the order under section 31(2) of the 1998 Act is
made and ending with the date of the poll (and sub-paragraphs (3) and
(4) of that paragraph are not to apply).
(5) In section 1 of the Northern Ireland Assembly Elections Act 2003 (c. 3) (dates of
election, etc), the following are repealed—
paragraph (a) of subsection (2),
subsections (3) to (6).
2 May election: supplementary provisions
(1) Any step taken pursuant to the Election Rules in connection with the May
(a) shall cease to have effect in relation to that election, and
(b) is not to have effect in relation to any other election.
(2) This applies, for example, to the delivery of any nomination paper in
connection with the May election.
(3) Any deposit made for the purposes of the May election is to be returned.
(4) In this section, the “Election Rules” means the rules in Schedule 1 to the
Representation of the People Act 1983 (c. 2), as applied by Article 3 of and
Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Assembly (Elections) Order 2001 (SI 2001/
3 Payments relating to May election
(1) The Secretary of State may make payments, in accordance with a scheme under
this section, in connection with the May election.
(2) The scheme must provide for the payments to be made to—
(a) registered parties, in connection with campaign expenditure, and
(b) candidates at the May election, in connection with their election
(3) The scheme must make provision for—
(a) what is to count as campaign expenditure or as election expenses
(including any period during which it or they must have been incurred
in order to count),
(b) who is to count as a candidate,
(c) a ceiling on payments that may be made under the scheme (or different
ceilings for different descriptions of payment), and
(d) arrangements for claiming, verifying and making the payments
(including any date by which claims must be made),
and it may make provision for anything else which is relevant for the purposes
of the scheme.
(4) The scheme may, in particular, provide for campaign expenditure which
would have counted towards the total by virtue of section 1(5) of the Northern
Ireland Assembly Elections Act 2003 (c. 3) to count correspondingly for the
purposes of payments under the scheme.
(5) The Electoral Commission must submit recommendations to the Secretary of
State for the terms of the scheme.
(6) When the Secretary of State receives the recommendations, he must make a
scheme in terms which either give effect to those recommendations, or which
do so with any modifications he thinks appropriate.
(7) The Secretary of State must publish the scheme which he makes, and he may
do so in any way which appears appropriate to him.
(8) Payments made under a scheme under this section are to be made out of money
provided by Parliament.
(9) In this section, “registered party” has the same meaning as in the Political
Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (c. 41).
4 Remuneration of members of the Assembly
(1) In relation to the dissolution of the Assembly on 28th April 2003 and the next
Assembly election, section 47 of the 1998 Act (remuneration of members) is to have
effect as if, for subsection (10) of that section, there were substituted—
“(10) For the purposes of this section, a person who is a member of the Assembly
immediately before the Assembly is dissolved shall be treated—
(a) as if he were a member of the Assembly until the end of the day which
is the latest day for the delivery of nomination papers for the next
Assembly election; and
(b) if he is nominated as a candidate at the next Assembly election, as if he
were a member of the Assembly until the end of the day of the poll for
(2) Subsection (1) does not affect an entitlement any person has by virtue of section 47(10)
of the 1998 Act in respect of any period before the passing of this Act.
(3) While section 1 of the Northern Ireland Act 2000 (c. 1) is in force, references in
subsections (1) and (2) to section 47 of the 1998 Act are to be read with paragraph 9 of
the Schedule to the 2000 Act.
(4) In this section, “the next Assembly election” means the election the poll for which is to
be held on the date specified in an order under section 31(2) of the 1998 Act (as
substituted by section 1(2) of this Act) .
5 Supplementary provisions
(1) The Schedule to the Northern Ireland Act 2000 (provisions applicable during
suspension) is amended as follows.
(2) In paragraph 7 (subordinate instruments, etc), after sub-paragraph (6) there is
“(6A) Without prejudice to any requirement under this Schedule, so much
of any enactment or instrument as requires any instrument or
document to be laid before the Assembly does not apply during any
period while section 1 is in force when the Assembly is dissolved.”
(3) In paragraph 11 (audit), after sub-paragraph (3) there is added—
“(4) While section 1 is in force, Article 6(2) of the Audit (Northern
Ireland) Order 1987 (expenses and accounts of Northern Ireland
Audit Office) shall have effect as if for the words “the committee
established under section 66 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998”, and
“that committee”, there were substituted “the Department”.”
(4) After paragraph 11, there is added—
“Use of resources and resource accounts
11A While section 1 is in force, the Government Resources and Accounts
Act (Northern Ireland) 2001 shall have effect as if—
(a) in section 6(4), for the words “an estimate is approved by the
Assembly for that body or person in respect of each financial
year” there were substituted “an estimate was approved by
the Assembly for that body or person in respect of the
financial year ending 31st March 2003”;
(b) in section 9(1), for the words “A Northern Ireland
department for which an estimate is approved by the
Assembly in respect of a financial year shall prepare accounts
(to be known as resource accounts) for that year” there were
substituted “Each Northern Ireland department shall prepare
accounts (to be known as resource accounts) for each
financial year”; and
(c) in section 13(1), for the words “an estimate is approved by the
Assembly for any body or person in respect of any financial
year” there were substituted “the use of resources by any
body or person is authorised in respect of any financial year
by Act of the Assembly”.”
(5) In paragraph 13 (Ombudsman and Commissioner for Complaints), after sub-
paragraph (2) there is added—
“(3) During any period while section 1 is in force when the Assembly is
dissolved, any complaint under the Ombudsman (Northern Ireland)
Order 1996 may be made to, and referred to the Ombudsman by, a
member of the House of Commons; and references to a member of
the Assembly in Articles 9, 11, 16 and 18 of that Order shall be
(6) After paragraph 13, there is added—
“Financial assistance for political parties
14 While section 1 is in force, the Financial Assistance for Political Parties Act
(Northern Ireland) 2000 shall have effect as if—
(d) in section 1, for the words “assisting members of the Assembly who
are connected with such parties to perform their Assembly duties”
there were substituted “assisting them to engage in political
discussions about a return to devolved government”; and
(e) in section 2(2), paragraph (c) were omitted.”