HC Deb 26 June 2000 vol 352 c397W
Mr. Winnick

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what limitations will be in place for expenditure by political parties for the next election. [126143]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

Paragraph 3 of Schedule 8 to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill imposes limits on campaign expenditure by registered political parties in the 365 days prior to the date of a general election. The maximum amount a party may spend is determined by the number of constituencies contested. A party receives an allowance of £30,000 for each constituency contested, subject to a minimum threshold. A party contesting every constituency in the United Kingdom would therefore be subject to a limit on campaign expenditure of £19.77 million during the normal 365-day period. In the event that Schedule 8 is brought into force less than 365 days prior to the date of the next general election, clause 151(5) of the Bill provides that the relevant commencement order may specify a lower limit to apply during the shortened campaign period. We have undertaken to consult the main political parties before any such order is made.