HC Deb 27 March 2001 vol 365 cc592-3W
Mr. Jim Murphy

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what contact his Department has had with the British National Party concerning the verification of the credentials of their parliamentary candidates and their access to party election broadcast; [155483]

(2) what discussions he has had with electoral registration officers about ensuring the verification of the credentials of British National Party candidates in respect of their access to party election broadcasts; [155484]

(3) what safeguards he is introducing to ensure the verification of the credentials of parliamentary candidates in relation to their access to party election broadcasts. [155485]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

Subject to sections 11 and 37 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the allocation of party election broadcast, is a matter for the broadcasting authorities (that is, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Independent Television Commission, Radio Authority and Sianel Pedwar Cymru). section 11 of the Act requires the broadcasting authorities, in determining their policy on party political broadcasts (including party election broadcasts), to have regard to the views of the Electoral Commission. Section 37 of the Act provides that only parties registered under Part II of the Act may qualify for such broadcasts.

We have held no discussion is with electoral administrators concerning the British National Party's eligibility to qualify for an election broadcast. We have had no discussions with the British National Party and would not be disposed toward having any.

In response to concerns that unscrupulous candidates had in the past misled electors into supporting their nomination, the Representation of the People Act 2000 made it an offence for a person to include in his nomination paper any fraudulent or fraudulently obtained signatures of persons purporting to Act as a candidate's seconder or assentor.

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