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Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

Section 72 and Schedule 8 : Campaign expenditure

142.Section 72 defines the terms “campaign expenditure”, “election campaign” and “for election purposes” for the purposes of the controls on registered political parties’ election expenditure as provided for in this Part of the Act. Subsection (2) defines “campaign expenditure” by reference to the list of qualifying expenses set out in Part I of Schedule 8. Any expenditure on a matter set out in this list during the relevant period for an election (as defined in Schedule 9) will need to be accounted for as campaign expenditure. Thus, for example, the full production costs of all party political broadcasts screened in the 365 days before a parliamentary general election would count as campaign expenditure. To assist parties with identifying what does or does not constitute campaign expenditure, paragraph 3 of Schedule 8 provides for the Electoral Commission to prepare a code of practice giving guidance on such matters. Before a code of practice comes into effect it must be approved by the Secretary of State (in this case, the Home Secretary) and laid before Parliament. Although the code of practice is not made by statutory instrument, an equivalent of the negative resolution procedure applies so that either House of Parliament may resolve not to approve the draft code.

143.Paragraph 4 of Schedule 8 empowers the Secretary of State to amend Part I of the Schedule by order. An order made under this provision must either give effect to a recommendation of the Commission or be made after consultation with the Commission.

144.The definition of the term “for election purposes” is cast in broad terms so as to capture all expenditure by a party that is incurred in order to promote its electoral success or more generally enhance the standing of the party or any of its candidates. However, excluded from the definition is any expenditure incurred with a view to enhancing the prospects of a particular candidate. Such expenditure is already subject to separate controls under the provisions of enactments relating to elections. The relevant enactments are:


in the case of parliamentary and local government elections (including elections to the Greater London Authority), the Representation of the People Act 1983;


in the case of Scottish Parliamentary elections, the Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 1999 (SI 1999/787);


in the case of elections to the National Assembly for Wales, the National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) Order 1999 (SI 1999/450);


in the case of elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly, an order made under section 34 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998;


in the case of elections to the European Parliament, the European Parliamentary Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/1214).

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