Electoral Spending

Oral Answers to Questions — Electoral Commission Committee – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 16th April 2007.

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Photo of John Pugh John Pugh Shadow Minister (Health) 2:30 pm, 16th April 2007

What progress the commission has made in its consideration of whether further regulation is required to differentiate more clearly expenditure spent on behalf of an individual candidate in a constituency and national expenditure spent on behalf of that candidate's party in that constituency.

Photo of Peter Viggers Peter Viggers Conservative, Gosport

The commission has informed me that it intends to consult the political parties following the 2007 May elections to consider, among other issues, whether there is a need for further regulation on the treatment of party and candidate expenditure.

Photo of John Pugh John Pugh Shadow Minister (Health)

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that election literature that names a constituency, that comments on issues in a constituency and that urges people to vote for one party and not for another should no longer be kept off candidates' expenses, even though the candidates are not named?

Photo of Peter Viggers Peter Viggers Conservative, Gosport

The hon. Gentleman's point does not precisely follow his question, in my opinion, but he has made his point. On the broader issue of funding, the Electoral Commission made its own recommendations in its study in 2004. The situation has moved on since then with the publication of Sir Hayden Phillips's report. The matter is now in the hands of the parties to discuss that report and to find a way forward.