New Clause 23

Political Parties and Elections Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 20 November 2008.

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Person may not be “responsible person” for more than one third party

‘(1) Section 88 of the 2000 Act (third parties recognised for the purposes of Part 6 of that Act) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (2)(a), after “(as defined by section 54(8))” there is inserted “who is not the responsible person in relation to another third party”.

(3) After subsection (3) there is inserted—

“(3A) A notification given by a third party does not comply with the requirement in subsection (3)(b)(iii) or (c)(ii) (to state the name of the person who will be responsible for compliance) if the person whose name is stated is—

(a) the responsible person in relation to another third party,

(b) an individual who gives a notification under subsection (1) at the same time, or

(c) the person whose name is stated, in purported compliance with the requirement in subsection (3)(b)(iii) or (c)(ii), in a notification given at the same time by another third party.

In this subsection “the person”, in relation to a notification to which subsection (3)(c) applies, is to be read as “the person or officer”.”

(4) Where—

(a) a third party gives a notification under section 88(4)(b) of the 2000 Act (“the renewal notification”) in respect of a notification under section 88(1) (“the original notification”) that was given before the commencement of this section, and

(b) the original notification contained a statement under section 88(3)(b)(iii) or (c)(ii) naming someone who, at the time when the renewal notification is given, is the responsible person in relation to another third party,

the renewal notification must indicate (under section 88(6)(b)) that the statement is replaced by a statement naming someone who is not the responsible person in relation to another third party.’.—[Mr. Wills.]

Brought up, and added to the Bill.


Amendmentmade: No. 129, in line 2, at end insert ‘and electoral registration’.—[Mr. Wills.]


That certain written evidence already reported to the House be appended to the proceedings of the Committee.—[Mr. Wills.]

Question proposed, That the Chairman do report the Bill, as amended, to the House.

Photo of Michael Wills Michael Wills Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

On a point of order, Sir Nicholas. We are coming to the end of our proceedings and now might be my last opportunity to thank you and your co-Chairmen, Mr. Cook, Mr. Benton and Mr. Atkinson, for what, all  members of the Committee will agree, has been a most skilful chairmanship. We are all extremely grateful for the wit, skill and good humour with which you have helped steer the debate and guide the members of the Committee, and bring our proceedings to what has been a successful conclusion.

On behalf of the whole Committee, I thank the Badge Messengers, our Clerk, the Hansard reporters and our colleagues from the police. All have provided a particularly efficient service to the Committee, especially in view of the large number of amendments tabled by the Government and the Opposition. I realise the pressure that that puts on the Committee. We are extremely grateful to them. I particularly thank Opposition Front-Bench Members—the hon. Members for Huntingdon, for Epping Forest, for Cambridge and for Argyll and Bute—for their valuable and comprehensive contributions to the debate and the diligence with which they have scrutinised the Government’s proposals under the Bill.

I am particularly grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham and his Opposition counterpart, the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East, for their hard work through the usual channels. I am also extremely grateful to the other members of the Committee who have tabled amendments and contributed to our discussions on this important Bill, including my hon. Friends. The various amendments have made an extremely useful contribution to our proceedings, particularly those tabled by my hon. Friends. The Bill has been immeasurably improved, and we are grateful for them.

All Opposition Members whose contributions have tested us in debate have made the Bill stronger and more robust. We have examined in detail most of the clauses. I can just manage to say that. I hope that members of the Committee agree that there has been a productive discussion from both sides. I recognise that we have committed ourselves to coming back to issues on Report, and I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea that I mean what I say: we will be coming back to them. I hope that hon. Members also agree that, while we recognise there is clearly some way to go on some issues, we have made good progress. The Bill is in a much better shape now as a result of the amendments and the hard work that has been put in.

Finally, I thank the Ministry of Justice officials. I hope that the Committee agrees that they have done a remarkable job. The Bill has been difficult and complex in many ways. It has tested them to the limits. They have worked extremely hard, late into the night and night after night to make sure that the Bill is in good shape. We all owe them a great debt of gratitude.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Justice), Shadow Solicitor General

Further to that point of order, Sir Nicholas. I thank you, Mr. Cook and Mr. Atkinson for chairing our proceedings over the past weeks. I also thank the Clerks, the Hansard reporters, the Doorkeepers and the police for providing the mechanics that have facilitated our deliberations. The Committee has been conducted in generally good humour and a positive spirit. I thank all hon. Members for their contributions. Yes, more time would have allowed for the eight unconsidered clauses to be covered, but we have covered a lot, in what have been pretty good debates. The Minister generally has been open-minded and recognised the need for consensus through our deliberations. That will involve him returning at the next stage with quite a lot of amendments, but we look forward to that.

Photo of David Howarth David Howarth Shadow Solicitor General, Ministry of Justice, Shadow Minister (Shadow Solicitor General), Home Affairs

Further to that point of order, Sir Nicholas. I would like to add my thanks, especially to you, Sir Nicholas, and to the other hon. Members who chaired the Committee. You have chaired the Committee in your usual exemplary fashion and I always enjoy serving under your chairmanship. I also thank the Minister for the open spirit with which he has approached the debate, and the Opposition for providing many hours of amusement, of one sort or another.

We have not made good progress, I am afraid to say. We have not reached a large number of clauses. More than that, we have not reached what are the central issues for many hon. Members and many members of the public. We have not debated properly the issue of party expenditure at the national and local level, although we almost got to it at the end of the previous debate. We have not debated caps on donations. We had a few moments on that earlier today, but we did not reach the new clause on it. We did not debate properly how to deal with foreign ownership of corporations—again, we had a few words on that—and we did not debate in any detail how to implement the other aspect of the Hayden Phillips compromise: dealing in a fair way with the relationship between the unions and the Labour party. I hope that those issues will be given priority on Report. We must show the public that we understand that those are the issues that matter for what the Bill must be about, which is getting big money out of politics and cleaning up politics.

To finish on a happier note, the spirit of the Committee has been very positive, and I hope that we will take the Bill onwards in that spirit.

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Conservative, Macclesfield

The last word lies with the Chairman. I thank the members of the Committee for their generous comments, which I will ensure are brought to the attention of my co-Chairmen. I thank all those responsible for the orderly conduct of the Committee. That is, the Clerks—who do a wonderful job; I do not think that the House fully appreciates their excellent work—the Hansard reporters, the police and the Doorkeepers, all of whom are essential to the orderly conduct of a Public Bill Committee.

May I congratulate those on the Front Benches, particularly the Minister? I always admire a Minister who deals with a Bill on his own. It certainly is not easy; he cannot get away. Like the Chairman, he has to sit there all the time, but perhaps unlike the Chairman, the Minister must be on top form and the master of his brief. All those on the Front Benches—the Official Opposition, the Liberal Democrats and the Government—have made this, for me, a very enjoyable Committee.

To end on a positive note, I really enjoy my job on the Chairmen’s Panel. One gets to know colleagues in all parts of the House very much better and one can establish an understanding and a relationship with them, which I believe is what makes Parliament a great place to be a Member of. I thank the Committee for the way in which it has dealt with the Bill. We did not debate it all, but I am sure that the Government will try to ensure that those parts to which the hon. Member for Cambridge drew attention get priority during the remaining stages of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, to be reported.

Committee rose at fourteen minutes past Four o’clock.