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|Act of Parliament|
|Long title||An Act to establish an Electoral Commission; to make provision about the registration and finances of political parties; to make provision about donations and expenditure for political purposes; to make provision about election and referendum campaigns and the conduct of referendums; to make provision about election petitions and other legal proceedings in connection with elections; to reduce the qualifying periods set out in sections 1 and 3 of the Representation of the People Act 1985; to make pre-consolidation amendments relating to European Parliamentary Elections; and for connected purposes.|
|Citation||2000 c. 41|
|Territorial extent||United Kingdom|
|Royal assent||30 November 2000|
|Amended by|| Government of Wales Act 2006 |
Political Parties and Elections Act 2009
Scotland Act 2012
Wales Act 2014
Scotland Act 2016
Wales Act 2017
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
|Revised text of statute as amended|
The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (c. 41) is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that sets out how political parties, elections and referendums are to be regulated in the United Kingdom. It formed an important part of the constitutional reform programme implemented by the 1997 Labour Government, building on the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998 (c. 48) which was passed two years earlier.
An act of parliament, also called primary legislation, are statutes passed by a parliament (legislature). Act of the Oireachtas is an equivalent term used in the Republic of Ireland where the legislature is commonly known by its Irish name, Oireachtas. The United States Act of Congress is based on it.
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament or Westminster Parliament, as well as domestically simply as Parliament or Westminster, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign (Queen-in-Parliament), the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.
A referendum is a direct and universal vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal and can have nationwide or local forms. This may result in the adoption of a new policy or specific law. In some countries, it is synonymous with a plebiscite or a vote on a ballot question.
The Act was introduced after consultation with major political parties, and largely followed the recommendations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (known at the time as the "Neill Committee" after its chairman), an independent body set-up by former Prime Minister John Major to consider ways of making politics more transparent. The committee set out its proposals in its report, The Funding of Political Parties in the United Kingdom.
The Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) is an advisory non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom Government, established in 1994 to advise the Prime Minister on ethical standards of public life. It promotes a code of conduct called the Seven Principles of Public Life.
Sir John Major is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997. Previously Foreign Secretary and then Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Thatcher Government from 1989 to 1990, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for Huntingdon from 1979 until his retirement in 2001. Since the death of Margaret Thatcher in 2013, Major has been both the oldest and earliest-serving of all living former prime ministers.
The Act created an independent Electoral Commission to regulate political parties and their funding arrangements. It also required parties to submit statements of their accounts on a regular basis, and prohibited the receipt of funds from foreign or anonymous donors. Restrictions on campaign expenditure were also put in place, dictating the maximum amount that parties were able to spend.
The Electoral Commission is the election commission of the United Kingdom. It is an independent body, set up in 2001 by the British Parliament. It regulates party and election finance and sets standards for how elections should be run.
The law gave the newly formed Electoral Commission a role in controlling the registration of political parties.
The requirement for parties to register with an official body, if they wished to be named on ballot papers, was the result of a fairly wide acceptance that the finances of political groups should be regulated to reduce the perception of underhand dealings.
In addition, political groups or individuals failing to register with the Commission would only be able to describe themselves as "Independent" on ballot papers, or else have a blank space instead of a description after their names—with the single exception of the Speaker of the House of Commons who is entitled to be described as: "The Speaker seeking re-election".
This built on the provisions of the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998, passed amid concern about voters being fooled by misleading ballot descriptions.
The Registration of Political Parties Act 1998, is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which made legal provision to set up a register of political parties in the United Kingdom. Previously there had been no such register, and political parties were not specially recognised. There were 468 political parties registered in the UK on 8 October 2016.
There is an annual fee for the registration of a political party.
Under the terms of the law, registered political parties are only allowed to accept donations in excess of £500 from "permissible donors", defined as either individuals on an electoral register in the United Kingdom, or political parties, companies, trade unions, or similar organisations that are registered in the country.
The provision of non-financial support to a registered party – such as subsidies or free materials – is counted as a donation. Each party is required to submit details of all donations received, whether by party headquarters or their subsidiary parts. Each report must provide sufficient information to show that a donor counts as a "permissible source".
Political parties on the separate register for Northern Ireland are exempt from the controls on accepting and reporting donations.
Northern Ireland is variously described as a country, province or region which is part of the United Kingdom. Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in several areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments".
The Act places strict limits on the amount each party may spend in the run-up to the election (how that time period is defined depends on the type of election). The current[ when? ] limit for elections to the UK Parliament in Westminster stands at £30,000 per constituency contested within 365 days of a General Election, up to a maximum of £18.84 million.
The amount permitted to be spent by third-parties during Parliamentary elections to support or oppose candidates was increased from the previous limit of £5 (which had been held to be an impermissible restriction on freedom of expression by the European Convention on Human Rights in the case of Bowman v United Kingdom ) to £500.
The Act provides a basic framework to the running of all future referendums that are to be held under the jurisdiction of the Electoral Commission in pursuance of any provision made by a subsequent Act of Parliament in the following areas:
The Act also makes the provision that in any future UK-wide referendum the chairperson of the Electoral Commission is appointed “Chief Counting Officer” for the United Kingdom or gives the power for the chairperson to appoint a Chief Counting Officer.
In December 2006 Prime Minister Tony Blair and politicians of other parties were questioned by police as part of their investigation into the Cash for Honours affair. Part of their time was said to be spent looking at whether the Act had been breached by parties taking loans from supporters in return for nominations to the House of Lords. Unlike donations, loans did not have to be made public as long as they were made on "commercial terms".
The Government later changed the law to require the declaration of all forms of loan, and asked a former Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, Sir Hayden Phillips, to undertake a fundamental review of party funding arrangements. He reported in 2008.
In November 2007 the provisions of the Act were again the subject of scrutiny in the cases of Labour party donor David Abrahams and Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander.
In 2016, several UK police forces started investigations into allegations of election fraud, in the 2015 general election, specifically on the Conservatives breaching the spend limits permitted. The majority of alligations focus on the mis-representation of the "battle-bus" finances.
The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, commonly known as Elections Canada, is the non-partisan agency responsible for administering Canadian federal elections and referendums. Elections Canada is an office of the Parliament of Canada, and reports directly to Parliament rather than to the Government of Canada.
Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), is a U.S. constitutional law Supreme Court case on campaign finance. A majority of justices held that limits on election spending in the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 §608 are unconstitutional. In a per curiam opinion, they ruled that expenditure limits contravene the First Amendment provision on freedom of speech because a restriction on spending for political communication necessarily reduces the quantity of expression. It limited disclosure provisions and limited the Federal Election Commission's power. Justice Byron White dissented in part and wrote that Congress had legitimately recognized unlimited election spending "as a mortal danger against which effective preventive and curative steps must be taken".
Election law is a discipline falling at the juncture of constitutional law and political science. It researches "the politics of law and the law of politics". The conceptual knowledge behind election law focuses on who votes, when that person can vote, and the construction behind the tabulated totals.
Elections in the United States are held for government officials at the federal, state, and local levels. At the federal level, the nation's head of state, the president, is elected indirectly by the people of each state, through an Electoral College. Today, these electors almost always vote with the popular vote of their state. All members of the federal legislature, the Congress, are directly elected by the people of each state. There are many elected offices at state level, each state having at least an elective governor and legislature. There are also elected offices at the local level, in counties, cities, towns, townships, boroughs, and villages; as well as for special districts and school districts which may transcend county and municipal boundaries. According to a study by political scientist Jennifer Lawless, there were 519,682 elected officials in the United States as of 2012.
The electoral roll is a list of persons who are eligible to vote in a particular electoral district and who are registered to vote, if required in a particular jurisdiction. An electoral roll has a number of functions, especially to streamline voting on election day. Voter registration is also used to combat electoral fraud by enabling authorities to verify an applicant's identity and entitlement to a vote, and to ensure a person doesn't vote multiple times. In jurisdictions where voting is compulsory, the electoral roll is used to indicate who has failed to vote. Most jurisdictions maintain permanent electoral rolls while some jurisdictions compile new electoral rolls before each election. In some jurisdictions, people to be selected for jury or other civil duties are chosen from an electoral roll.
Campaign finance in the United States is the financing of electoral campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels. At the federal level, campaign finance law is enacted by Congress and enforced by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), an independent federal agency. Although most campaign spending is privately financed, public financing is available for qualifying candidates for President of the United States during both the primaries and the general election. Eligibility requirements must be fulfilled to qualify for a government subsidy, and those that do accept government funding are usually subject to spending limits on money.
The Federal Corrupt Practices Act, also known as the Publicity Act, was a federal law of the United States that was enacted in 1910 and amended in 1911 and 1925. It remained the nation's primary law regulating campaign finance in federal elections until the passage of the Federal Election Campaign Act in 1971. The Act of Congress was enacted on June 25, 1910 by US President William Howard Taft.
Political funding in the United Kingdom has been a source of controversy for many years. Political parties in the UK may be funded through membership fees, party donations or through state funding, the latter of which is reserved for administrative costs. The general restrictions in the UK were held in Bowman v United Kingdom to be fully compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, article 10.
Electoral reform is change in electoral systems to improve how public desires are expressed in election results. That can include reforms of:
There are six types of elections in the United Kingdom: elections to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elections to devolved parliaments and assemblies, elections to the European Parliament, local elections, mayoral elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Within each of those categories, there may be by-elections as well as Elections are held on Election Day, which is conventionally a Thursday. Since the passing of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 for general elections, all six types of elections are held after fixed periods, though early elections to parliament and the devolved assemblies and parliaments can occur in certain situations. The six electoral systems used are: the single member plurality system (first-past-the-post), the multi-member plurality system, party-list proportional representation, the single transferable vote, the additional member system and the supplementary vote.
The United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum, also known as the UK-wide referendum on the Parliamentary voting system was held on Thursday 5 May 2011 in the United Kingdom (UK) to choose the method of electing MPs at subsequent general elections. It occurred as a provision of the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition agreement drawn up in 2010 and also indirectly in the aftermath of the 2009 expenses scandal. It operated under the provisions of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 and was the first national referendum to be held under provisions laid out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011(c. 1) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that made provision for the holding of a referendum on whether to introduce the Alternative Vote system in all future general elections to the UK Parliament and also made provision on the number and size of Parliamentary Constituencies. The Bill for the Act was introduced to the House of Commons on 22 July 2010 and passed third reading on 2 November by 321 votes to 264. The House of Lords passed the Bill, with amendments, on 14 February 2011, and after some compromises between the two Houses on amendments, it received Royal Assent on 16 February.
Only quite recently political funding in New Zealand has become an issue of public policy. Now there is direct and indirect funding by public money as well as a skeleton regulation of income, expenditure and transparency.
The American Anti-Corruption Act (AACA), sometimes shortened to Anti-Corruption Act, is a piece of model legislation designed to limit the influence of money in American politics by overhauling lobbying, transparency, and campaign finance laws. It was crafted in 2011 "by former Federal Election Commission chairman Trevor Potter in consultation with dozens of strategists, democracy reform leaders and constitutional attorneys from across the political spectrum," and is supported by reform organizations such as Represent.Us, which advocate for the passage of local, state, and federal laws modeled after the AACA. It is designed to limit or outlaw practices perceived to be major contributors to political corruption.
The European Union Referendum Act 2015(c. 36) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that made legal provision for a consultative referendum to be held in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar, on whether it should remain a member state of the European Union or leave it. The Bill was introduced to the House of Commons by Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary on 28 May 2015. Two weeks later, the second reading of the Bill was supported by MPs from all parties except the SNP; the Bill subsequently passed on its third reading in the Commons on 7 September 2015. It was approved by the House of Lords on 14 December 2015, and given Royal Assent on 17 December 2015. The Act came partly into force on the same day and came into full legal force on 1 February 2016.
The 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum took place in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar on 23 June 2016. Membership of the European Union had been a topic of debate in the United Kingdom since the country joined the European Communities in 1973. This referendum was conducted very differently from the European Communities membership referendum in 1975; a more localised and regionalised counting procedure was used, and the ballot was overseen by the Electoral Commission, a public body which did not exist at the time of the first vote. This article lists, by voting area for Great Britain and Gibraltar and by parliamentary constituency for Northern Ireland, all the results of the referendum, each ordered into national and regional sections.
Several allegations of unlawful campaigning in the 2016 EU referendum have been made. Some allegations were dismissed by the investigating bodies, but in other cases wrongdoing was established, leading to the imposition of penalties. Sanctions have included the levying of the maximum fine possible on Facebook for breaches of data privacy. Calls for changes in UK electoral law have been made and the standing of the EU referendum result has been challenged.