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Elections: Register

Volume 698: debated on Monday 28 January 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Scotland on 10 December 2002 (WA 19), what was the outcome of the discussions with the Electoral Commission. [HL1405]

The Government issued a consultation paper on imprints in March 2005 (, and issued the summary of responses in March 2006 ( These papers confirmed that the use of post office boxes as addresses for imprints is legally permissible. PO boxes are traceable by the public through the Royal Mail, or where an address has been withheld on police advice, through the courts.

The Electoral Commission, in its guidance to candidates for elections in 2007, stated that “the Commission's view is that as good practice, wherever possible, a PO Box should not be used”. This advice resulted from the Electoral Commission's concern that the use of PO boxes did not allow the originator of the material to be contacted quickly, nor did it aid transparency.

The Government have no plans to alter the rules relating to the use of PO boxes in imprints.