Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill
Lord Bach (Government Whip (technically a Lord in Waiting, HM Household); Labour)
On behalf of my noble friend, in moving Amendment No. 59 I shall speak also to Amendment No. 111. I hope to address the Committee at short length on this matter.
As I shall explain at greater length when we come to opposition Amendment No. 60, the purpose of Clause 20 is to bring all organisations which put up candidates at an election within the controls on parties' income and expenditure. To achieve that end it prevents candidates using any description other than that of "Independent", unless they are standing on behalf of a registered party.
Madam Speaker pointed out that the Speaker of the House of Commons has traditionally used the description, "The Speaker seeking re-election". The purpose of Clause 20 would not be undermined by allowing the holder of that office to continue to use such a description. Amendment No. 59 effects that simple modification. Amendment No. 111 makes a consequential amendment to Clause 34.
Although, as the Committee will know well, Madam Speaker has announced her intention to resign her seat later this year and will not therefore need to avail herself of the position, we believe that it should be open to her successors to make use of such a description on the ballot paper. I beg to move.