Clause 28 - Return as to election expenses

Electoral Administration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:00 am ar 17 Tachwedd 2005.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Minister of State (Department of Constitutional Affairs), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

The clause gives the Electoral Commission greater flexibility in prescribing the form that candidates must use to submit their election expenses returns. It does so without reducing the amount of information that must be included in the return. The list of election expenses that are to form the basis of an election expense return are detailed in clause 29.

The clause is necessary to deal with the current election expenses return procedures, which are complex and often result in confusion about election   expenses, therefore leading to inadvertent errors in the resulting return. The clause will ensure, in turn, that candidates and agents more readily understand the requirements when submitting an election expenses return, thereby reducing the risk that they will submit incorrect or incomplete return.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

Mr. Conway, I just wanted to make the point that simple verification would be welcomed by agents across the country. However, there is also the risk of further complexity as a result of the clause. It is important that the Electoral Commission speaks to all political parties throughout the process of revising the regulations to make sure that we are not making things worse.

Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Minister of State (Department of Constitutional Affairs), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I am sure the hon. Gentleman is right. It would be a good idea not only for the Electoral Commission to consult people, but to do a dry run. Consulting the experts at party headquarters is one thing, but it is quite another for us simple folk out in the field to get things right. I will make sure that his views are conveyed to the Electoral Commission.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 28 ordered to stand part of the Bill.