Electoral Commission Committee written question – answered on 7th October 2008.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Conservative, Buckingham

To ask the honourable Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether the Electoral Commission has made representations to the Government on proposals for extending its investigative and punitive powers.

Photo of Peter Viggers Peter Viggers Conservative, Gosport

The Electoral Commission informs me that it made representations supporting more proportionate and flexible penalties and the ability to apply a range of sanctions in 2003, when it published its review, Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act: Recommendations for change, which it submitted to the Government.

The Commission further informs me that in 2006 it called for wider sanctions during evidence provided to the eleventh enquiry of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

In July 2008, the Commission reiterated its support for a widened range of sanctions and investigatory powers in its response to the Government's White Paper Party finance and expenditure in the United Kingdom.

In the Commission's most recent briefing paper responding to the Political Parties and Elections Bill, it again welcomed and reiterated its strong support for the provisions in the Bill to widen its sanctioning and investigation powers. Copies of this briefing paper have been placed in the House of Commons Library.

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