|Long title||An Act to consolidate the Representation of the People Acts of 1949, 1969, 1977, 1978 and 1980, the Electoral Registers Acts of 1949 and 1953, the Elections (Welsh Forms) Act 1964, Part III of the Local Government Act 1972, sections 6 to 10 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, the Representation of the People (Armed Forces) Act 1976, the Returning Officers (Scotland) Act 1977, section 3 of the Representation of the People Act 1981, section 62 of and Schedule 2 to the Mental Health (Amendment) Act 1982, and connected provisions; and to repeal as obsolete the Representation of the People Act 1979 and other enactments related to the Representation of the People Acts.|
|Citation||1983 c. 2|
|Territorial extent||United Kingdom|
|Royal assent||8 February 1983|
|Amended by||Wales Act 2017|
|Text of the Representation of the People Act 1983 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk.|
The Representation of the People Act 1983 (c. 2) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It changed the British electoral process in the following ways:
The Act also regulates how political parties and people acting on their behalf are to behave before and during an election.
Sections 72 to 90 control the total election expenses that can be spent on behalf of a candidate.
During the time limit of the election, all money spent on the promotion of a candidate must be authorised by his election agent. This includes the cost of holding public meetings, organising public displays, issuing advertisements, circulars, or otherwise presenting the candidate's views and the extent or nature of his backing or disparaging another candidate. It does not include travel expenses from home or similar personal expenses.
The expenses limit for the campaign (which is enforceable due to it all having to be authorised by one person) is £100,000 for a parliamentary by-election, but is approximately £5,483 plus either 6.2p or 4.6p for every registered voter in the district.
Sections 91 to 94 entitle the candidate to one free mailshot of election material to all voters in the constituency. It is also illegal to print fake polling cards.
Sections 95 to 98 entitle the candidate to hold public meetings free of charge in schools and other public buildings in the constituency, and pay only the cost price for making the rooms available.
Sections 99 makes it illegal for officers in charge of administering an election to be involved in any of the election campaigns.
Section 100 forbids a police officer from canvassing in any election which overlaps with their police area.
Sections 101 to 105made it illegal to hire or lend taxis and buses to give lifts of voters to the ballot box. These sections were repealed by Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
Section 106 makes it illegal for any person to publish any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate's personal character or conduct, unless he or she can show that he had reasonable grounds for believing that statement to be true.Similar provisions in previous laws have made this illegal since 1895. It is also illegal to publish a false statement of a candidate's withdrawal from an election.
In September 2007 Miranda Grell was found guilty under this section when she made allegations of paedophilia and having sex with teenage boys against her gay opponent during the 2006 United Kingdom local elections.
In November 2010, Labour MP Phil Woolas was found by an electoral court to have breached section 106. The judges ruled that a by-election for the seat should be held. Woolas said that he would apply for a judicial review into the ruling.In a statement released through his lawyer, Woolas stated that "this election petition raised fundamental issues about the freedom to question and criticise politicians" and that it "will inevitably chill political speech". The judicial review failed to overturn the ruling of the election court.
In June 2015 the independent candidate in Mid Bedfordshire, Tim Ireland, lodged an appeal against the result at the general election, accusing Nadine Dorries of breaches of section 106 by making false statements about his character.The petition was rejected by the High Court of Justice because it was served at Dorries' constituency office and not her home address.
Section 107 makes it illegal to bribe a candidate to withdraw from an election.
Section 108 made it illegal to hire a room in a pub for holding a campaign committee meeting. This section was repealed by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
Section 109 prohibits hiring special advertising spaces (e.g. on the sides of houses) for the display of campaign posters (hiring ordinary advertising billboards used for regular advertising is permitted).
Section 110 states that any material, leaflet or advertisement for a candidate in an election must include the names and addresses of the printer, the promoter, and the person on behalf of whom the material is being published.
In December 2008 a Liverpool City Liberal Democrats councillor was found guilty under this section for delivering leaflets during the 2007 United Kingdom local elections purporting to be on behalf of The United Socialist Party (but lacking the necessary names and addresses) attacking the Labour candidate for crossing a picket line during a strike, and accusing his wife (who is a sitting councillor) of leaving council meetings early to learn lap dancing.
Schedule 1 of the Act lays out in complete form the rules for running a parliamentary election and how the nomination papers should be handled.
David Michael Chaytor is a former British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bury North from 1997 to 2010. He was the first member of Parliament to be sentenced following the United Kingdom Parliamentary expenses scandal of 2009.
Philip James Woolas is a British environmental consultant, political lobbyist, former television producer and former politician. He was the Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Oldham East and Saddleworth from his election in 1997 to 2010. He was the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration in the Home Office, as well as being the Minister of State for the Treasury. On 5 November 2010, he was found to have breached the Representation of the People Act 1983 in the course of the 2010 general election. As a result, his victory of just 103 votes at the 2010 general election campaign was declared void, he lost his seat in the House of Commons, and was barred from standing again for three years. Woolas was also adminstratively suspended from the Labour Party until his case was considered by the Disputes Panel in January 2011 when it was lifted.
Oldham East and Saddleworth is a constituency in outer Greater Manchester represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since January 2011 by Debbie Abrahams of the Labour Party.
Portsmouth South is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 8 June 2017 by Stephen Morgan of the Labour Party. Morgan is the first-ever Labour MP to represent the seat.
Mid Bedfordshire is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2005 by Nadine Dorries, of the Conservative Party. Apart from four early years, the constituency has returned a Conservative since its creation in 1918.
The 2010 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday, 6 May 2010, with 45,597,461 registered voters entitled to vote to elect members to the House of Commons. The election took place in 650 constituencies across the United Kingdom under the first-past-the-post system. None of the parties achieved the 326 seats needed for an overall majority. The Conservative Party, led by David Cameron, won the largest number of votes and seats, but still fell 20 seats short. This resulted in a hung parliament where no party was able to command a majority in the House of Commons. This was only the second general election since the Second World War to return a hung parliament, the first being the February 1974 election. Unlike in 1974, the potential for a hung parliament had this time been widely considered and predicted, and both the country and politicians were better prepared for the constitutional process that would follow such a result. The coalition government that was subsequently formed was the first coalition in British history to eventuate directly from an election outcome. The hung parliament came about in spite of the Conservatives managing both a higher vote total and higher share of the vote than the previous Labour government had done in 2005, when it secured a comfortable majority.
Nadine Vanessa Dorries is a British Conservative politician serving as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care since 2019, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Mid Bedfordshire since 2005. Considered to be on the political right of the Conservative Party, she has a reputation for being outspoken.
Corrupt practices in English election law includes bribery, treating, undue influence, personation, and aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring personation.
An election petition refers to the procedure for challenging the result of a Parliamentary election.
Mohammad Lutfur Rahman, known as Lutfur Rahman, is a Bangladesh-born British former solicitor and politician, who was the first directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, a Borough within London, and the first directly elected mayor to be removed having been found guilty of electoral fraud.
Miranda Agnes Jayne Grell is a barrister and former Labour Party councillor for the London Borough of Waltham Forest. She was the first person to be found guilty of making false statements under the Representation of the People Act 1983, having made false allegations of paedophilia against her political opponent, Barry Smith, during an election campaign. Grell was banned for holding public office for three years as a result.
The United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal was a major political scandal that emerged in 2009, concerning expenses claims made by members of the United Kingdom Parliament over the previous years. The disclosure of widespread misuse of allowances and expenses permitted to Members of Parliament (MPs) aroused widespread anger among the UK public and resulted in a large number of resignations, sackings, de-selections and retirement announcements together with public apologies and the repayment of expenses. Several members or former members of both the House of Commons, and members of the House of Lords, were prosecuted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment.
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 also be by-elections. 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.
An election court is, in United Kingdom election law, a special court convened to hear a petition against the result of a local government or parliamentary election. The court is created to hear the individual case, and ceases to exist when it has made its decision.
The 2011 by-election in Oldham East and Saddleworth was a by-election for the Parliament of the United Kingdom's House of Commons constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth held on 13 January 2011. Labour Party candidate Debbie Abrahams held the seat for her party with an increased majority over the Liberal Democrats, succeeding Phil Woolas, whose victory in the 2010 general election had been declared void because he had knowingly made false statements attacking his Liberal Democrat opponent's personal character.
The Barnsley Central by-election was a by-election for the Parliament of the United Kingdom's House of Commons constituency of Barnsley Central which took place on 3 March 2011. The by-election resulted in the Labour Party holding the seat with an increased majority.
Tower Hamlets First was a British political party represented in Tower Hamlets London Borough Council, which was launched to contest the 2014 local elections in the Borough. During its existence it was the second largest party on Tower Hamlets Council and the fifth largest political party out of all London borough councils.
Erlam & Ors v Rahman & Anor  EWHC 1215 (QB), is an English election court case challenging the 2014 election of Lutfur Rahman as the Mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. On 23 April 2015, Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey voided Rahman's election under the Representation of the People Act 1983 on the grounds of corrupt and illegal practices by him and his agents, and general corruption so extensively prevailing so to reasonably supposed to have affected the election. Rahman's official election agent Alibor Choudhury was ordered to vacate his own office of councillor in the ward of Stepney Green for being guilty of corrupt and illegal practices.
The United Kingdom General Election 2015 – Party Spending Investigation was a probe involving the UK Electoral Commission, numerous police forces, and the Crown Prosecution Service into spending by political parties and candidates, primarily during the 2015 general election campaign. This co-ordinated investigation has been described as 'an unprecedented and extraordinary situation'.
The election court will focus on whether the leaflet and a newsletter breached the 1983 Representation of the People Act. Under the act, anyone involved in an election campaign who "makes or publishes any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate's personal character or conduct" has committed an offence.