Ministry of Justice
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Straw unveils new controls on political funding and spending
Political spending and donations to parties are to be more tightly regulated under new rules unveiled by Justice Secretary Jack Straw today.
The Political Parties and Elections Bill will tighten controls on spending by candidates, improve the transparency of donations to political parties and substantially strengthen the powers of the Electoral Commission.
Jack Straw said:
"Fundamental reform of party finance is necessary to help build higher standards of public confidence in our politics.
"This Bill is a significant step towards a system of party funding that is more transparent and better regulated. Politics and politicians need to be effectively scrutinised so we are proposing to strengthen the Electoral Commission.
"I hope we can take this important step with the support and co-operation of all political parties to build a deep and enduring cross-party consensus."
The Bill contains legislation to:
* Bring in more effective controls through the reintroduction of the "trigger" on candidate spending;
* Strengthen the Electoral Commission so that it is better equipped to regulate party spending and political donations - both through giving it greater powers and reforming its governance so that it can benefit from commissioners with recent experience of politics;
* Increase the transparency of donations to provide more information about the ultimate source of a donation;
* Allow electors applying to vote on household canvass forms to be registered during the canvass period, to prevent the potential disenfranchisement of electors if an election were to be held during that period; and
* Allow for the administration of European Parliament elections by local authority (rather than Parliamentary) returning officers, to help ensure the successful delivery of elections.
Notes to editors
1. The Political Parties and Elections Bill is available at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/legislation.htm
2. The White Paper Party finance and expenditure in the United Kingdom is available at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/party-funding.htm
3. The Justice Secretary's Oral Statement on 16 June accompanying publication of the White Paper is available at http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/announcement160608a.htm