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Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what recent assessment the Commission has made of (a) the appropriateness of the criminal offences established by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and (b) the merits of replacing those offences with a range of civil penalties. (222954)

The Electoral Commission informs me that in July 2008 it published a paper titled “Party finance and expenditure in the United Kingdom: the Government's proposals—The Electoral Commission's response”, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House. In that document the Commission reiterated its view that the introduction of a wider range of civil sanctions should complement rather than replace the existing criminal penalties regime in respect of offences under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA).

The Commission further informs me that it strongly supports the detailed proposals for civil sanctions which have since been set out in the Political Parties and Elections Bill. The Commission believes that the proposed regime will enable the Commission to regulate in a proportionate way in accordance with the Hampton principles of good regulatory practice.