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Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

Overview of the Neill Committee report and the Government’s response

An Electoral Commission

23.To supervise the restrictions on spending by and donations to the political parties (and third parties), the Neill Committee proposed the establishment of an independent Electoral Commission. The provisions of the Act give the Electoral Commission a somewhat broader remit than the one proposed by the Neill Committee, to include a responsibility for promoting participation in the democratic process and to assume, after an interval, the functions of the Parliamentary and Local Government Boundary Commissions. The Electoral Commission is also, as recommended by the Neill Committee, to assume the role of registrar of political parties. It is to have the function of receiving accounts, reports of disclosable donations and returns as to election expenses from political parties (and third parties), and a duty to monitor compliance (but not to mount criminal prosecutions). But it is also to have the wider role of reporting on the conduct of elections and referendums and of advising the Government on any necessary changes to the law. It will take over a number of functions from the Home Office and act as a general reference point for advice for the parties, the broadcasting organisations and others on the conduct of elections and referendums.

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