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Political Parties

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 3 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which provisions of the (a) Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, (b) Electoral Administration Act 2006 and (c) Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 have not yet commenced; and for what reasons in each case. [Official Report, 10 March 2010, Vol. 507, c. 5MC.] (319612)

I have provided a table which gives detail of the provisions that have not yet commenced, and the reasons for that, for the (a) Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, (b) Electoral Administration Act 2006 and (c) Political Parties and Elections Act 2009.

Section

Description

Reason why not yet in force

Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

6(l)(c)

Review of electoral and political matters (redistribution of Parliamentary seats)

The Government accepted the recommendation of the Committee on Standards in Public Life's Eleventh Report, ‘Review of the Electoral Commission’, that the Electoral Commission should no longer have any involvement in electoral boundary matters and the provisions in PPERA to allow the transfer of boundary setting functions to the Commission should be repealed. Subsequently, the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 repealed these provisions and removes from the Electoral Commission functions relating to boundary and electoral changes

14 and Schedule 3

Boundary Committees, Transfer of Functions of Boundary Commissions

17

Transfer of property etc of Boundary Commissions

Schedule 21, paragraph 6(3),6(4),6(7)(l)(a),7

Minor and consequential amendments

Will be commenced at an appropriate time taking account of status of accounts from previous elections and allowing time for other changes contained in the EAA 2006 to bed in

Electoral Administration Act 2006

1(2) and (5),2(2),(4)(9)-(12),5(10),7

CORE scheme

The CORE project has been paused to allow policy on individual electoral registration to develop first (individual registration may change the requirements for CORE and the context in which it is developed)

31(4) (as it relates to rule37(l)(d) schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983)

Replacement of counterfoils (procedure on close of poll)

Section 31 is commenced, except to the extent that it relates to sub-paragraph (d) of paragraph (1) of rule 37 of the parliamentary election rules, which remains under consideration

42-44 (as they relate to local government elections and authority elections as defined in section 203 of the Representation of the People Act 1983)

Control of documents after parliamentary election; access to election documents

Section 41 was commenced 1 January 2007. Policy changes in relation to election documents in Scotland, and secondary legislation, mean the commencement of sections 42 to 44 is, for the time being, unnecessary

59

Reporting donations to holders of certain elective offices

Commenced 1 July 2009 (so far as relates to a Member of the House of Commons). Otherwise under consideration

61(1)(2-4)(5)(6)

Regulation of loans etc.

Commenced 11 September 2006 (England, Wales, Scotland); 1 January 2007 (England, Wales, Scotland); 1 July 2008 (Northern Ireland) except so far as applies to minor parties within meaning of PPERA 2000 s160. The position of minor parties (i.e. those which do not seek to field candidates in parliamentary or local authority elections) remains under review

Schedule 1, Part 5, (75(1) amended rule 37 of the parliamentary rules set out in Schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983)

Amendments (Signing in Polling stations)

Remains under consideration in particular in the context of wider reforms to electoral registration

Political Parties and Elections Act 2009

1(2),2,3(1),(3),(4),8, Schedules 1 and 2

Compliance with controls imposed by the 2000 Act etc; Investigatory powers of Commission; Civil Sanctions; Education about systems of government and EU institutions

The Electoral Commission's new powers will be commenced with effect from 1 July 2010. A statutory instrument supporting the civil sanctioning powers must be approved before section 3 and schedule 2 can be commenced

6

Number of Electoral Commissioners

The Speaker's Committee is considering proposed nominated Commissioners from party leaders. The provision will be commenced once the appointment process is complete

9-11 and Schedules 3 and 4

Declaration as to source of donation; Non-resident donors etc; Non-resident lenders etc.

As set out in the written ministerial statement of 24 November 2009, Official Report, columns 68-70’WS: “Officials have begun preliminary work on the prerequisites to implementation of these provisions. However, as stated during consideration of Lords Amendments to the Bill, we are practically unable to commence Sections 10 and 11 before the summer of 2010 due to their complex nature. Section 9, which requires donors to provide declarations as to the true origins of all donations of over £7,500, will be commenced alongside Sections 10 and 11 to ensure consistency in approach, which will be welcomed by those who make political donations, as well as parties and other recipients who will have to ensure that they comply with the additional declaration requirement.”

25

Disposal of election documents in Scotland

Planned for commencement with effect from 1 July 2010

27

Returning officers for elections to the European Parliament

The intention is to commence this provision in due course in time for implementation ahead of the next scheduled European Parliamentary elections in 2014

28-29

CORE keeper

The CORE project has been paused to allow policy on individual electoral registration to develop first (individual registration may change the requirements for CORE and the context in which it is developed)

30,31,35,36

Electoral registration: Voluntary provision of identifying information; Regulations amending or supplementing section 30; Schemes for provision of data to registration officers; Schemes under section 35: proposals, consultation and evaluation

The timetable for the introduction of individual electoral registration remains as set out during the parliamentary passage of the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009. During Commons Consideration of Lords Amendments on 13 July 2009, Official Report, column 99, Michael Wills said: “Our approach to individual registration is to move in two phases: a voluntary phase and a compulsory phase…The voluntary phase will not commence before July 2010...and will not finish before 2014. That period will enable us to be fully confident that the system is ready before we move to the compulsory phase...It will enable us to prepare the public for the change, and to take steps to bolster registration rates in the meantime. That will be fundamental to protecting the system against the risk of a drop in the numbers registered.” A project has been established to design and implement processes for the collection and storage of personal identifiers in the voluntary phase of individual electoral registration.

32(1)-(5)-(11)

Report by Electoral Commission on provision of identifying information

This section can only be commenced once sections 30 and 31 have come into force

33 and 34

Obligatory provision of identifying information (and provision supplementing 33)

The commencement of this section is linked to the annual reports produced by the Electoral Commission under section 32. Upon a positive recommendation being made by the Electoral Commission in 2014 the commencement of sections 33 and 34 will need to be debated and approved by both Houses.

Minor and consequential amendments

The commencement of relevant minor and consequential amendments is dependant on commencement of other sections of the Act and will be brought forward as appropriate

Repeals