Electoral Commission: Referendums and Elections Spending - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:29 am on 23rd May 2019.

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Photo of Lord Young of Cookham Lord Young of Cookham Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 11:29 am, 23rd May 2019

The Electoral Commission’s annual report for 2017-18 shows that it issued £126,625 in fines and penalties. Penalties were imposed in 86 cases, £30,000 being the highest charged to any one party, with a further two of over £10,000. As the noble Lord will know, for more serious criminal offences the Electoral Commission can refer the matter to the police and to the National Crime Agency—which it has done—and if anyone is convicted, then the maximum fine is unlimited. So the potential exists to go above the Electoral Commission’s powers. I do not accept his suggestion that we should rerun the referendum, which resulted in a 1.3 million majority of one side over the other. We should accept it; and I do not accept that it has led to the total paralysis of the Government.