Registration of Political Parties Act 1998

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Registration of Political Parties Act 1998
Act of Parliament
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Long title An Act to make provision about the registration of political parties.
Citation 1998 c. 48
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom
Royal assent 19 November 1998
Status: Amended
Revised text of statute as amended

The Registration of Political Parties Act 1998 (c. 48), 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.

Parliament of the United Kingdom Supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom

The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, and domestically simply as Parliament, 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, 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.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

The legislation was introduced for a variety of reasons. It was planned to introduce some elements of list-based proportional representation in elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and also to introduce full list-based proportional representation in European Parliament elections in England, Scotland and Wales and for that, political parties needed to have a stronger legal recognition. Additionally, various pieces of legislation needed to refer to parties and so were using ad hoc definitions, which might have been incompatible.

Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body --- each citizen voter being represented proportionately as by Evaluative Proportional Representation located in Section 5.5.5, or by each party being represented proportionately. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party as their favorite, then roughly n% of seats will be won by that party. The essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result - not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts, as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, the implementations of PR that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats.

Scottish Parliament Devolved parliament of Scotland

The Scottish Parliament is the devolved unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood area of the capital city, Edinburgh, it is frequently referred to by the metonym Holyrood.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Another motivation was the use of the names Literal Democrats, Conversative Party, and Labor Party by people in elections in the 1990s; these names were criticised as potentially confusing with the names of the three major parties in the UK (the Liberal Democrats, the Conservative Party and the Labour Party, respectively). In the 1994 European Elections, Richard Huggett stood as a Literal Democrat candidate for the Devon and East Plymouth seat, taking more votes than the Conservative Party margin over the Liberal Democrats, leading to a legal challenge by the Liberal Democrat candidate. [1] [2]

Liberal Democrats (UK) Political party in the United Kingdom

The Liberal Democrats are a liberal and social-liberal political party in the United Kingdom.

Conservative Party (UK) Political party in the United Kingdom

The Conservative Party, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, sometimes informally called the Tories, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 313 Members of Parliament, and also has 249 members of the House of Lords, 4 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 11 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 8,916 local councillors.

The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights.

The legislation therefore introduced a register of political parties; and included provisions to prohibit "confusion" with already-existing parties, names that were "more than six words", or were "obscene or offensive".

As the act also permitted logos on ballot papers, the act also introduced a similar register for emblems, which had the result that the Communist Party of Britain is the only party in the United Kingdom permitted to use the hammer and sickle as its ballot-paper logo, although they usually use the hammer and dove variant. Parties may register more than one emblem, or none at all; most have two or three.

Logo graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises

A logo is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol used to aid and promote public identification and recognition. It may be of an abstract or figurative design or include the text of the name it represents as in a wordmark.

Communist Party of Britain political party in the United Kingdom, established 1988

The Communist Party of Britain is a communist and Marxist–Leninist political party organised in Great Britain. The party emerged from a dispute between Eurocommunists and Marxist-Leninists in the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1988.

Hammer and sickle Communist symbol

The hammer and sickle is a symbol meant to represent proletarian solidarity – a union between the peasantry and working-class, that was first adopted – as Russian: серп и мо́лот, romanized: serp i mólot: "sickle and hammer" – during the Russian Revolution. At the time of its creation, the hammer stood for the proletariat and the sickle for the peasantry—combined they stood for the worker-peasant alliance for socialism. The sickle symbol resembles a sickle used to harvest grain crops and the hammer is one that would be used to make a razor sharp edge on a sickle or scythe.

The act was amended by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (2000 c. 41) to change the registration authority to the Electoral Commission from "the registrar or other officer who performs the duty of registration of companies in England and Wales under the Companies Act 1985" [3]

Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 election statute in the United Kingdom

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 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 which was passed two years earlier.

Electoral Commission (United Kingdom) an independent body set up by the UK Parliament

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  1. "Challenger could spell ballot paper trouble for Tories' Davis". The Scotsman , 21 February 2005. Archived from the original Archived 10 January 2006 at the Wayback Machine on 24 May 2011.
  2. "BBC Rewind: A Literal Democrat". BBC News . 13 June 1994. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  3. "Registration of Political Parties Act 1998" (timeline 03/12/1998), The National Archives, 3 December 1998, retrieved 21 November 2017