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Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

Section 22 : Parties to be registered in order to field candidates at elections

70.The registration scheme established by the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998 is voluntary in nature. If the controls on income and expenditure set out in this Act are to be effective, however, then the means by which parties are brought within the ambit of those controls must, to all intents and purposes, be binding upon those parties which it is intended should be subject to those controls. The intention is that the controls on political parties’ income and expenditure should apply to any organisation that has a candidate at a relevant election. The purpose of section 22 is to provide the mechanism by which such organisations are brought within the registration scheme. Its effect is to require that an organisation wishing to put up candidates at a relevant election, as defined in subsection (5), must be registered as a political party with the Electoral Commission. It does so by providing that a person may only stand as a candidate at a relevant election if his nomination paper is accompanied by a certificate authorising his candidature issued by, or on behalf of, the nominating officer of a registered party or if his nomination paper either gives the description “Independent” or gives no description whatsoever. Special provision is, however, made for the Speaker of the House of Commons who may continue to seek re-election using the description “The Speaker seeking re-election”. In the case of elections to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales or the Greater London Assembly under the additional member system, a party will only be able to be nominated to stand if it is a registered party; this rule also applies to elections to the European Parliament in Great Britain under the regional list system of election (see subsection (1)(c)). The restrictions on candidates’ descriptions do not apply to parish council elections in England or community council elections in Wales (subsection (4)).

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