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Political Parties: Finance

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2008

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission with reference to the memorandum submitted by the Electoral Commission to the Public Bill Committee of Session 2007-08 on the Political Parties and Elections Bill, in relation to the proposed new trigger rules, whether spending by an individual in relation to a campaign on local issues, but not in relation to their candidacy in a future election, would count as a trigger. (241815)

The Electoral Commission informs me that in the memorandum it submitted to the Public Bill Committee (PPE 04), which is available on the committee's webpage, it cited the issue of spending in relation to a campaign on local issues as one of the complex questions likely to arise under the proposed new trigger rules.

The Commission informs me that, if the triggering proposal is implemented, it will prepare and consult on guidance on the practical effect of the rules. However, as the Commission noted in its memorandum, the question of when the regulated period is triggered will depend on the specific facts in each particular case.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what guidance the Electoral Commission has given on whether the underwriting of a political party and providing guarantees to auditors should be registered as a donation or a loan. (241848)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has not issued guidance on the regulated status of general undertakings that do not amount to or relate to a specific transaction. However, the Commission informs me that its view is that such undertakings are not regulated transactions.

The Commission further informs me that it has published guidance for political parties on the types of donations and regulated transactions that must be reported to the Commission under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. That guidance explains that regulated transactions include guarantees given in respect of a loan, credit facility or other transaction involving the provision of property, services or facilities to a registered party.