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Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

Section 136 : Corrupt and illegal practices : consequences for persons convicted of such practices

236.Section 136 substitutes new sections 173and 173A of the Representation of the People Act 1983 for the existing section 173. At present section 173 of the 1983 Act precludes a person convicted of a corrupt practice from sitting in the House of Commons or holding any public or judicial office, but there is no such provision in respect of conviction for an illegal practice. Section 173 as substituted by this clause brings the consequences of conviction for an illegal practice into line with those for conviction for a corrupt practice. Subsections (4) and (5) of the new section 173 are intended to clarify the law in respect of the vacation of a seat or office following conviction for a corrupt or illegal practice. The vacation of a seat or office under subsection (4) will be final. However, subsection (5) makes provision for a stay of vacation where a notice of appeal against conviction is given, until either the determination of that appeal or the end of a period of three months whichever is sooner. The revised section 173 clarifies the statutory provisions following the Divisional Court’s decision of 30 April 1999 in the case of Fiona Jones. In its revised form section 173 will now deal only with the electoral consequences of a conviction for a corrupt or illegal practice. The loss of any public or judicial office (other than an elected office) will henceforth be dealt with under the normal conditions of employment for such offices. However, new section 173A of the 1983 Act preserves in respect of Scotland the penalty of loss of any public or judicial office following a conviction for a corrupt practice.

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