Memorandum by Christopher Leslie MP, Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs
FUNDING FOR THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY AND
LOCAL ELECTIONS IN JUNE 2004
I am writing to clarify the position on the
financial split between local and national government for the
combined pilot elections in June 2004 following our appearance
at the ODPM Select Committee.
The Government's position on the costs of piloting
is that it will meet the additional costs attributable to running
the European Parliamentary and local elections on an all-postal
basis. The costs of European elections are to be met by central
government through the appropriate Fees and Charges Order. The
costs of the local elections will be met initially by the local
authorities concerned in the usual way, and the extra costs of
costs arising from piloting paid by means of the Local Government
In the case of liabilities arising in the June
elections, for all local elections it is expected that the Local
Returning Officer will have recourse to their local insurance
policies, which are funded by their local authorities. These policies
vary in terms of their coverage, some including re-runs, others
not. Should a challenge for a re-run be made, funding the re-run
will depend on the circumstances and the reason for the petition.
If the fault lies with the LRO, we would expect them to use their
own insurance policy, or alternative funds to cover their costs.
Should the petition be made on the basis that the pilots were
at fault, it will be for LROs to seek recourse to central government
Additional insurance has been taken out to cover
the European elections for legal liabilities, including public,
products, employers', official liability and libel and slander.
However, this does not cover the costs of re-running a European
election. It is the Government's intention that the costs of re-running
European elections would be met from central funds.
A re-run of the European election is highly
unlikely. A petition can only be made in very specific circumstances
and the court looks at whether the reason for the petition could
have influenced the result of the election. Due to the voting
system used for the European elections, it is highly unlikely
that one isolated event will alter the result, to the region as
It is more likely that a re-run will be petitioned
against a particular local election; however, due to the restraints
upon which a petition can be made, we anticipate only isolated
incidents. For instance, there was only one re-run in the 2001
combined General and County elections.