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Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament (Amendment) Act 2016

The Act

4.The Act amends the Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Act 2006 (‘the Interests Act’). It incorporates the donations and loans that are currently reportable to the Electoral Commission, under Schedules 7 and 7A to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (‘PPERA’), within the Parliament’s members’ interests regime. These changes will allow for the elimination of the dual reporting of certain financial interests, to both the Electoral Commission and the Scottish Parliament. Section 59 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 created a mechanism for ending this dual reporting. Where the Electoral Commission is satisfied with corresponding reporting arrangements that the Scottish Parliament has put in place, the relevant UK Secretary of State can commence statutory exemptions(1) from reporting directly to the Electoral Commission.

5.In particular, the Act amends what amounts to a “registrable financial interest” for the purposes of registering and declaring financial interests, ensuring that relevant PPERA donations and loans are captured. It makes adjustments to relevant time periods, and introduces a requirement to report changes to any registrable interest falling within a new controlled transactions category. The Act also amends PPERA (with associated amendment of section 59 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006) to allow dual reporting to be ended for members of the Scottish Parliament who are not members of registered political parties (e.g. independent MSPs).

6.The Act also enhances the sanctions available to the Parliament to impose on members who breach the registration and declaration requirements in Interests Act, broadens the existing paid advocacy offence, adjusts the threshold for an exemption to the remuneration category for certain expenses, and amends provisions relating to the retention of members’ registers of interests.

1

PPERA, paragraphs 10(8), 10(9) and 15A of Schedule 7, and paragraph 16 of Schedule 7A

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Text created by the Scottish Executive department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills

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