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Elections: Costs

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 16 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance has been produced on whether the office and staffing costs of hon. Members, as Members of Parliament are included in the new pre-candidacy election spending limit. (291211)

Section 21 of the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 introduces pre-candidacy limits on individuals’ election expenses where a general election is held after 55 months of a Parliament have elapsed. The pre-candidacy spending limit will operate in the same way as the limit on post-dissolution candidate expenses. In order to be regulated by either limit, spending must be: (i) used during the relevant regulated period; (ii) on one of the matters listed in part 1 of Schedule 4A of the Representation of the People Act 1983; and (iii) used for the purposes of the individual’s election.

The Electoral Commission has produced initial guidance on candidate expenses should the next UK parliamentary election be held in 2010, when the pre-candidacy spending limit would operate. The Commission is seeking feedback on that initial guidance and intends to publish final guidance in December 2009.

Staff and office costs incurred by hon. Members’ in respect of their parliamentary duties are not for the purposes of election and therefore would not be counted against the spending limit.