To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if she will place in the Library a copy of the guidance that the Electoral Commission uses when determining the proportionality of setting the level of a variable monetary penalty.
The Electoral Commission has powers to impose a variable monetary penalty where it is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a person has committed a prescribed offence or contravention under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. The Commission takes decisions on sanctions in line with its Enforcement Policy. This document was the result of a public consultation and is available on its website; I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library.
The Commission has called for an increase to the maximum penalty it can impose on political parties and others for offences or contraventions under the political finance rules. The Commission’s view is that the current maximum fine of £20,000 per offence could be seen as a cost of doing business, and that monetary penalties should be more proportionate to the income and expenditure of larger and well-funded parties and campaigners.