This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Andrew Lansley has today announced that the government will be publishing amendments to the Transparency of Lobbying, Third Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, aimed at addressing misunderstandings about government’s intentions on third party campaigning.
The Leader of the House of Commons said:
During the committee stage of the bill, we undertook to see if we could make clearer in the bill that, unless a third party engages in what can reasonably be regarded as intended to promote or procure the electoral success of a party or candidate, its activity in relation to policies or views would not be regulated.
I can confirm now that I intend to table government amendments to this effect at the Report Stage of the bill on 8 and 9 October.
It remains the case that it has not been - and is not - the government’s intention to change the substantive test of what is expenditure for electoral purposes.
remove the additional test of “otherwise enhancing the standing of a party or candidates” from clause 26. This is to provide further reassurance to campaigners as to the test they have to meet in order to incur controlled expenditure. A third party will only be subject to regulation where its campaign can reasonably be regarded as intended to “promote or procure the electoral success” of a party of candidate
replace the separate listings for advertising, unsolicited material and manifesto/policy documents with election “material”; this is the language used in the current legislation that non-party campaigners and the Electoral Commission are already familiar with, and on which the Electoral Commission have existing guidance
make clear that it is public rallies and events that are being regulated; meetings or events just for an organisation’s members or supporters will not be captured by the bill. We will also provide an exemption for annual events – such as an organisation’s annual conference
ensure that non–party campaigners who respond to ad hoc media questions on specific policy issues are not captured by the bill, whilst still capturing press conferences and other organised media events
ensure that all “market research or canvassing” which promotes electoral success is regulated
Mr Lansley added:
We have listened and acted, as I said we would do. I am confident that these changes will ensure that the concerns raised about the effect of the bill on campaigning activities of charities have now been met.
In doing so, the bill will continue to meet the necessary objective of giving transparency and proper regulation wherever third parties seek to have an influence directly on the outcome of elections.