Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, as Theresa May tries to reach agreement on the UK-EU Brexit deal
The Electoral Commission has sent out a note explaining the rules relating to spending for “permitted participants” (campaigning organisations) at an election. It says:
The law enables non-party campaigners which wish to undertake ‘targeted spending’ – intended to influence people to vote for one particular registered political party or any of its candidates – to do so within prescribed spending limits. These are £31,980 in England; £3,540 in Scotland; £2,400 in Wales; and £1,080 in Northern Ireland. These limits apply during the regulated period which is 9 June 2016 to 8 June 2017.
Registered non-party campaigners are only entitled to spend above these limits if they have the authorisation of the political party that they are promoting. If that party provides authorisation, the registered non-party campaigner can spend up to the limit authorised by the political party. It is an offence to spend above the statutory limits without the party’s authorisation. Should the party provide authorisation for a higher spending limit, any spending by that non-party campaigner up to that limit would count towards the party’s national spending limit.
The Electoral Commission has announced it has launched an investigation into whether Momentum, the pro-Corbyn Labour organisation, broke election spending rules in the general election.
In a press statement the commission said:
The investigation will look at:
whether or not Momentum spent in excess of the spending limits for an unauthorised non-party campaigner in the UK parliamentary general election;
Momentum are a high profile active campaigning body. Questions over their compliance with the campaign finance rules at June’s general election risks causing harm to voters’ confidence in elections. There is significant public interest in us investigating Momentum to establish the facts in this matter and whether there have been any offences.
“Once complete, the commission will decide whether any breaches have occurred and, if so, what further action may be appropriate, in line with its enforcement policy.