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Political Parties: Donations

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 6 June 2007

To ask the Leader of the House what rules govern public sector bodies' donations to political parties. (139259)

Part 4 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) regulates the giving of donations to registered political parties and their members. Section 54 of PPERA sets out clearly that only 'permissible donors’ may make donations to political parties and what constitutes a ‘permissable donor’.

The Act does not set out specifically whether different types .of public sector body may be classed as permissible donors, although it does make provision in section 55 for payments to parties from public funds to be treated as permissible donations. There may also be some public bodies which fall into the various categories of permissible donor in section 54. In those cases it would be the responsibility of the political party to decide whether a public sector body that wished to make a donation is indeed a permissible donor. Any such donation would be subject to the regime laid out in PPERA governing the reporting of all donations to political parties and penalties for accepting a donation from a body that was not a permissible donor.

In addition to the political party ensuring that the public sector body, in question is a permissible donor, anyone acting for such a body would need to consider whether it had sufficient legal authority to make a donation to a political party under the legislation (or other instrument) by which is was constituted.