HL Deb 25 January 2005 vol 668 c151WA
Lord Stoddart of Swindon

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 2 December 2004 (WA 15 ), whether the likely costs to a person alleging a breach of Section 125 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 in making a challenge by way of judicial review are likely to be so high as to deter any challenge being made; and whether the Attorney-General has the power to act on a complaint from a person that a Minister has committed a breach of Section 125. [HL662]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland)

The costs of making a challenge by way of judicial review will depend on the circumstances of the particular case, and whether they would be likely to deter an individual from making a challenge would depend on that person's own circumstances.

The Attorney-General has no statutory role of enforcing Section 125. A complainant might ask the Attorney-General to bring a relator action to enforce the section. It would be a matter for the Attorney General's discretion whether to bring such an action. He might decline to do so if it were open to the complainant to pursue his complaint by way of judicial review. It would in any event be for the complainant to meet the costs of any relator action.