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Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

General elections to European Parliament

155.Paragraph 4 of Schedule 9 sets out the campaign expenditure limits for general elections to the European Parliament. As for the June 1999 elections in Great Britain, the expenditure limits are calculated by reference to the number of regions contested by a party multiplied by the total number of MEPs to be returned for those regions. A party receives an allowance of £45,000 for each MEP to be returned in each of the regions it contests. The maximum amount of campaign expenditure a party could incur if it stood for election in all the English regions and in Scotland and Wales and put up candidates in Northern Ireland is set out in the table below:

No of MEPsMaximum expenditure limit £’000
  • East Midlands

  • Eastern

  • London

  • North East

  • North West

  • South East

  • South West

  • West Midlands

  • Yorkshire and The Humber

TOTAL England713,195
TOTAL Great Britain843,780
Northern Ireland3135
TOTAL United Kingdom873,915

156.These limits on campaign expenditure by parties in European Parliamentary elections will replace those contained in regulation 15 of the European Parliamentary Elections Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/1214). The Regulations apply only to the elections in Great Britain; the equivalent regulations for Northern Ireland impose expenditure limits on candidates and not on parties (these limits will be retained).

157.Paragraph 4(5) provides that the relevant period during which the campaign expenditure limits will apply is the period of four months ending with the date of the poll. The dates of elections to the European Parliament are by and large fixed. The date is governed by Article 10(2) of the Community Act concerning the election of the representatives of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage annexed to the decision of the Council of the European Communities dated 20 September 1976. Under that Article, elections take place every five years in the period corresponding to the first elections to the Parliament in 1979 unless the Council of Ministers acting unanimously determine otherwise; they have not done so. Article 9 of the Community Act provides that the elections to the European Parliament must for all Member States fall within the same period starting on a Thursday morning and ending on the following Sunday. The precise date of the poll is set by the Secretary of State by order under section 3D of the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1978 (as substituted by section 1 of the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999). Subject to any determination by the Council of Ministers under Article 10(2), the next European Parliamentary Election will therefore be held within the period Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 June 2004. If, as previously has been the case, the election is held on the Thursday, the relevant period for the election will be four months commencing on 11 February 2004 and ending on 10 June 2004.

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