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Political Parties and Elections Bill


Political Parties and Elections Bill
Part 1 — The Electoral Commission

1

 

A

Bill

[AS AMENDED ON REPORT]

To

Make provision in connection with the Electoral Commission; to make

provision about political donations, loans and related transactions and about

political expenditure; and to make provision about elections and electoral

registration. 

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:—

Part 1

The Electoral Commission

Functions of Electoral Commission

1       

Compliance with controls imposed by the 2000 Act etc

(1)   

In the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (c. 41) (“the 2000

5

Act”) section 145 (general function of Commission with respect to monitoring

compliance with controls imposed by that Act etc) is amended as follows.

(2)   

In subsection (1), for the words before paragraph (a) there is substituted “The

Commission shall have the function of monitoring, and taking such steps as

they consider appropriate with a view to securing, compliance with”.

10

(3)   

After subsection (6) there is inserted—

“(6A)   

The Commission may prepare and publish guidance setting out, in

relation to any requirement referred to in subsection (1), their opinion

on any of the following matters—

(a)   

what it is necessary, or is sufficient, to do (or avoid doing) in

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order to comply with the requirement;

 

HL Bill 54                                                                                              

54/4

 
 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Part 1 — The Electoral Commission

2

 

(b)   

what it is desirable to do (or avoid doing) in view of the purpose

of the requirement.”

2       

Investigatory powers of Commission

(1)   

For section 146 of the 2000 Act there is substituted—

“146    

Investigatory powers of Commission

5

Schedule 19B makes provision about the investigatory powers of the

Commission.”

(2)   

Before Schedule 20 to the 2000 Act there is inserted, as Schedule 19B, the

Schedule set out in Schedule 1 to this Act.

(3)   

In Schedule 20 to the 2000 Act the following entries are inserted at the

10

appropriate place—

 

“Paragraph 14(1) of Schedule 19B

On summary conviction: Level 5

 
 

(failure to comply with

  
 

investigation requirement)

  
 

Paragraph 14(2) of Schedule 19B

On summary conviction: Level 5

 

15

 

(intentional obstruction of person

  
 

exercising investigatory power)

  
 

Paragraph 14(3) of Schedule 19B

On summary conviction in

 
 

(providing false information in

England and Wales or Scotland:

 
 

purported compliance with

statutory maximum or 12 months

 

20

 

investigation requirement)

  
  

On summary conviction in

 
  

Northern Ireland: statutory

 
  

maximum or 6 months

 
  

On indictment: fine or 1 year”.

 

25

3       

Civil sanctions

(1)   

For section 147 of the 2000 Act (civil penalty for failure to deliver documents

etc) there is substituted—

“147    

Civil sanctions

Schedule 19C makes provision for civil sanctions in relation to—

30

(a)   

the commission of offences under this Act;

(b)   

the contravention of restrictions or requirements imposed by or

by virtue of this Act.”

(2)   

After Schedule 19B to the 2000 Act (inserted by section 2 above) there is

inserted, as Schedule 19C, the Schedule set out in Schedule 2 to this Act.

35

(3)   

In Schedule 20 to the 2000 Act the following entry is inserted at the appropriate

place—

 
 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Part 1 — The Electoral Commission

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“Paragraph 14 of Schedule 19C

On summary conviction in

 
 

(failure to comply with stop notice)

England and Wales or Scotland:

 
  

£20,000 or 12 months

 
  

On summary conviction in

 
  

Northern Ireland: £20,000 or 6

 

5

  

months

 
  

On indictment: fine or 2 years”.

 

(4)   

In section 156 of the 2000 Act (orders and regulations), after subsection (4) there

is inserted—

“(4A)   

An order under paragraph 16 of Schedule 19C that contains—

10

(a)   

provision made by virtue of paragraph 1(1), (2), (3), (4) or (5),

paragraph 5(1), (2), (3) or (4), paragraph 10(2)(b) or (3)(b) or

paragraph 15(1)(a) of that Schedule, or

(b)   

provision amending an Act,

   

shall not be made unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing

15

the order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each

House of Parliament; and subsection (2) does not apply to such an

order.”

Electoral Commissioners etc

4       

Selection of prospective Electoral Commissioners and Commission chairman

20

(1)   

Section 3 of the 2000 Act (appointment of Electoral Commissioners etc) is

amended as follows.

(2)   

For subsection (2) there is substituted—

“(2)   

A motion for such an Address may be made only if—

(a)   

the Speaker of the House of Commons agrees that the motion

25

may be made;

(b)   

the motion has been the subject of consultation with the

registered leader of each registered party to which two or more

Members of the House of Commons then belong; and

(c)   

each person whose appointment is proposed in the motion has

30

been selected in accordance with a procedure put in place and

overseen by the Speaker’s Committee.”

(3)   

After subsection (5) there is inserted—

“(5A)   

In the case of a re-appointment (or further re-appointment) of an

Electoral Commissioner, the reference in subsection (2)(c) to being

35

selected in accordance with a procedure put in place and overseen by

the Speaker’s Committee is to be read as including a reference to being

recommended for re-appointment (or further re-appointment) by that

Committee.”

 
 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Part 1 — The Electoral Commission

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5       

Four Electoral Commissioners to be persons put forward by parties

(1)   

In section 3 of the 2000 Act, after subsection (4) (political restrictions on

Electoral Commissioners) there is inserted—

“(4A)   

Paragraphs (a) and (d) of subsection (4) do not apply to the

appointment of a person as a nominated Commissioner (within the

5

meaning of section 3A).”

(2)   

After that section there is inserted—

“3A     

Four Electoral Commissioners to be persons put forward by parties

(1)   

Four of the Electoral Commissioners shall each be a person whom the

registered leader of a qualifying party put forward to be considered for

10

appointment as an Electoral Commissioner (a “nominated

Commissioner”).

(2)   

In subsection (1) “qualifying party” means a registered party with two

or more Members of the House of Commons at the time of the person’s

appointment.

15

(3)   

Three of the nominated Commissioners shall each be a person put

forward by the registered leader of one of the three largest nominating

parties at the time of the person’s appointment.

(4)   

In subsection (3) “nominating party” means a party whose registered

leader—

20

(a)   

has put forward one or more persons to be considered for

appointment as a nominated Commissioner, or

(b)   

previously put forward a person who was appointed as a

nominated Commissioner and is expected to continue to hold

office.

25

(5)   

No appointment may be made that would result in two or more

nominated Commissioners being persons put forward by the leader of

the same party (and nothing in this section has effect so as to require

that result).

(6)   

In the case of an appointment of a nominated Commissioner, the

30

reference in section 3(2)(c) to being selected is to be read, where

appropriate, as a reference to being recommended.

(7)   

A nominated Commissioner may not be appointed as the chairman of

the Commission.

(8)   

For the purposes of this section, the relative size of any two or more

35

registered parties shall be determined according to the number of

Members of the House of Commons belonging to each party at the time

in question (or, in the case of two parties with the same number of

Members, according to the total number of votes cast for persons

standing for election in the name of each of those parties at the most

40

recent parliamentary general election).

(9)   

A reference in this section to a Member of the House of Commons does

not include any Member of that House who at the time in question—

(a)   

has not made and subscribed the oath required by the

Parliamentary Oaths Act 1866 (or the corresponding

45

affirmation), or

 
 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Part 1 — The Electoral Commission

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(b)   

is disqualified from sitting and voting in that House.”

(3)   

In section 14 of the 2000 Act (Boundary Committees), in subsection (4), for “an

Electoral Commissioner or a deputy Electoral Commissioner” there is

substituted “an Electoral Commissioner who is not a nominated Commissioner

(within the meaning of section 3A), or a deputy Electoral Commissioner,”.

5

6       

Number of Electoral Commissioners

In section 1 of the 2000 Act (establishment of Electoral Commission), in

subsection (3) (number of Commissioners), for “not less than five, but not more

than nine,” there is substituted “nine or ten”.

7       

Political restrictions on Electoral Commissioners and staff

10

(1)   

In section 3(4)(d) of the 2000 Act (persons not to be appointed as Electoral

Commissioners within ten years of engaging in certain political activities), for

“within the last ten years” there is substituted “within the last five years”.

(2)   

In Schedule 1 to the 2000 Act (the Electoral Commission), after paragraph 11

there is inserted—

15

“Political restrictions on staff

11A   (1)  

A person may not be appointed as a member of the staff of the

Commission if the person—

(a)   

is an officer or employee of a registered party or of any

accounting unit of such a party;

20

(b)   

holds a relevant elective office (within the meaning of

Schedule 7);

(c)   

has at any time within the relevant period (see sub-paragraph

(2))—

(i)   

been such an officer or employee as is mentioned in

25

paragraph (a), or

(ii)   

held such an office as is mentioned in paragraph (b),

or

(iii)   

been named as a donor in the register of donations

reported under Chapter 3 or 5 of Part 4, or

30

(iv)   

been named as a participant in the register of

recordable transactions reported under Part 4A.

      (2)  

The relevant period is—

(a)   

in relation to appointment as chief executive of the

Commission, the last five years;

35

(b)   

in relation to appointment to a post on the staff of the

Commission that is designated by a notice in force under

paragraph 11B, the period (immediately preceding the

appointment) specified by the notice;

(c)   

in relation to appointment as any other member of the staff of

40

the Commission, the last 12 months.

      (3)  

A member of a registered party may not be appointed as chief

executive of the Commission.

 
 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Part 1 — The Electoral Commission

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      (4)  

The appointment of any member of the staff of the Commission shall

terminate—

(a)   

in the case of the chief executive, on the occurrence of such an

event as is mentioned in any of paragraphs (a) to (d) of

paragraph 3(3);

5

(b)   

in any other case, on the occurrence of such an event as is

mentioned in any of paragraphs (a) to (ca) of paragraph 3(3).

11B   (1)  

The chief executive of the Commission may by giving notice to the

Speaker’s Committee—

(a)   

designate a particular post on the staff of the Commission,

10

and

(b)   

specify as the relevant period for that post, for the purposes

of paragraph 11A(2)(b), a period of two years or more,

           

if the chief executive reasonably believes that it is necessary to do so

in order to maintain public confidence in the effectiveness of the

15

Commission in carrying out any of its functions.

      (2)  

The period specified under sub-paragraph (1)(b) may not be more

than five years.

      (3)  

In deciding what that period should be, the chief executive of the

Commission shall take into account—

20

(a)   

the level of seniority of the post;

(b)   

how likely it is that any holder of the post will be required to

deal with politically sensitive matters.

      (4)  

Each notice under sub-paragraph (1) must relate to only one post.

      (5)  

A notice under sub-paragraph (1)—

25

(a)   

has effect from the day on which it is received by the

Speaker’s Committee, and

(b)   

(subject to sub-paragraphs (6) and (7)) expires at the end of

the period of three years beginning with that day.

      (6)  

Sub-paragraph (5)(b) does not prevent a further notice being given

30

under sub-paragraph (1) in relation to the post in question, either—

(a)   

before the previous notice would have expired, or

(b)   

at any time after the expiry of the previous notice.

           

A further notice received by the Speaker’s Committee before the

previous notice would have expired supersedes the previous notice.

35

      (7)  

If the chief executive of the Commission gives notice (a “cancellation

notice”) to the Speaker’s Committee cancelling a notice under sub-

paragraph (1), the notice under that sub-paragraph ceases to have

effect—

(a)   

on the day on which the cancellation notice is received by the

40

Speaker’s Committee, or

(b)   

(if later) on such date as may be specified in the cancellation

notice.

      (8)  

Before giving a notice under this paragraph the chief executive of the

Commission shall consult the Speaker’s Committee.

45

 
 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Part 2 — Political donations etc and expenditure

7

 

      (9)  

The Commission shall publish, in such manner as they consider

appropriate, information setting out the effect of all notices under

sub-paragraph (1) that are in force at any particular time.”

(3)   

The amendment made by subsection (2) does not apply to the appointment of

a person—

5

(a)   

to assist the Boundary Committee for England in the performance of its

functions,

(b)   

to assist the Commission in carrying out functions transferred to them

by an order under section 18(1) of the 2000 Act (transfer of functions of

Local Government Commission for England), or

10

(c)   

to perform duties including either or both of those.

8       

Education about systems of government and EU institutions

In section 13 of the 2000 Act (education about electoral and democratic

systems), paragraphs (b) and (c) of subsection (1) (Commission’s duty to

promote public awareness of systems of government and EU institutions) are

15

omitted.

Part 2

Political donations etc and expenditure

Donations

9       

Declaration as to source of donation

20

(1)   

In section 54 of the 2000 Act (permissible donors), in subsection (1)

(circumstances in which party may not accept donation), after paragraph (a)

there is inserted—

“(aa)   

in the case of a donation of an amount exceeding £7,500, the

party has not been given a declaration as required by that

25

section; or”.

(2)   

In section 54 of the 2000 Act (permissible donors), in subsection (2)(a), after

“register” there is inserted “who is resident in the United Kingdom for the

purposes of Part 14 of the Income Tax Act 2007 and is not a non-domiciled

United Kingdom resident”.

30

(3)   

After that section there is inserted—

“54A    

Declaration as to source of donation

(1)   

Where a person (P) causes an amount exceeding £7,500 to be received

by a registered party by way of a donation, a written declaration must

be given to the party—

35

(a)   

by P, if P is an individual, or

(b)   

if not, by an individual authorised by P to make the declaration,

   

stating, to the best of the individual’s knowledge and belief, whether or

not subsection (2) applies to the donation.

(2)   

This subsection applies to the donation if—

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