Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill — Clause 28 — Regulated Expenditure by Third Parties in General Elections — 22 Jan 2014 at 16:58
The majority of MPs voted against limiting what counts as controlled expenditure by third parties in general elections to only expenditure on election materials and unsolicited phone calls.
Those MPs voting with the majority were increasing the restrictions on third party organisations (such as charities) who campaign during elections as they were voting not to strictly limit the types of expenditure which are regulated and capped.
MPs were considering the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill 2013-14.
The motion voted on was:
- That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 26.
Explanatory notes to the Lords amendments have been produced which concisely describe the effect of amendment 26 as being to:
- require that only expenditure on material addressed or otherwise distributed to electors, or unsolicited telephone calls to households with a view to ascertaining voting intentions, are considered controlled expenditure for the purposes of constituency limits.
The notes though omit that the amendment includes phone calls with a view to influencing as well as ascertaining voting intentions.
The text of the rejected amendment 26 was:
- Page 16, leave out lines 10 to 23 and insert—
- 2A(1) For the purposes of this Schedule “third party constituency expenditure” means controlled expenditure incurred by or on behalf of a third party in relation to—
- (a) election material falling within paragraph 1 of Schedule 8A which is addressed to electors (whether addressed to them by name or intended for delivery to households or otherwise distributed within any particular constituency or constituencies), or
- (b) unsolicited telephone calls falling within paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 8A, made to such electors or households which can reasonably be regarded as intended to ascertain or influence their voting intention, where the effects are wholly or substantially confined to any particular constituencies or constituency.
- (2) Third party constituency expenditure -
- (a) shall be attributed to those constituencies in equal proportions, or
- (b) shall be attributed solely to that constituency,
- as the case may be.
- (3) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1), the effects of third party constituency expenditure are wholly or substantially confined to any particular constituencies or constituency if—
- (a) there is no significant effect in any other constituency or constituencies, and
- (b) it can reasonably be inferred that the third party selected the relevant electors or households (or both) or otherwise distributed the material wholly or substantially to contact electors in the particular constituency or constituencies and not a wider section of the public.”
This section amends Clause 28 of the Bill titled "constituency limits" which amends the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 provisions on controls relating to third party national election campaigns; and specifically how expenditure is attributed to different constituencies. The key addition is a definition of constituency expenditure as being only election material distributed in particular constituancies or unsolicited phone calls intended to ascertain or influence voting intentions.
During the debate Andrew Lansley MP (South Cambridgeshire, Conservative) stated the amendment which was voted on"
- would require that only the costs of election materials—whether they are addressed to households or otherwise distributed—and unsolicited telephone calls to households should count towards those constituency limits.
Mr Lansley argued:
- As Members know very well, campaigning does not revolve around leafleting and cold calls. There are events such as press conferences and rallies; there is transport to bus supporters to an area, and there are the payments made to campaigners. All those are significant aspects of campaigning, and excluding the costs of such activities would undermine the effectiveness of the constituency limits.
A counter argument was put by Jim Shannon MP (Strangford, DUP) who stated:
- The amendment on constituency limits will rightly reduce the regulatory burden on charities and voluntary organisations campaigning in individual constituencies.
Mr Shannon quoted Mencap as saying:
- However, we are still concerned about the potential of the Bill to curtail legitimate campaigning by voluntary and community organisations. On a practical level we are concerned that staffing costs are still to be included in regulated expenditure and the rules around separate organisations working on joint campaigns are still unclear. We are most concerned about the subjective way in which the Bill aims to determine the intentions of a campaigning activity. Charities are already bound by charity law which prohibits party political campaigning. However, this Bill applies to campaigning by organisations which might influence elections—whether they intended to or not
-  Parliament's webpage on the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill 2013-14
-  Explanatory notes on the Lords Amendments to the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, as brought from the House of Lords on 21 January 2014.
-  Lords Amendments to the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill - 22 January 2014
-  Version of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill which the amendments refer to - 10th October 2013
-  Clause 28 titled Constituency limits of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill which the amendments refer to - 10th October 2013
-  Andrew Lansley MP (South Cambridgeshire, Conservative), House of Commons, 22 January 2014
-  Jim Shannon MP (Strangford, DUP), House of Commons, 22 January 2014
-  Jim Shannon MP (Strangford, DUP), House of Commons, 22 January 2014
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (Aye)||Minority (No)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||272 (+1 tell)||8||0||92.1%|
|Lab||0||239 (+2 tell)||0||93.8%|
|LDem||42 (+1 tell)||5||0||85.7%|
|Christopher Chope||Christchurch||Con (front bench)||no|
|Philip Davies||Shipley||Con (front bench)||no|
|David Davis||Haltemprice and Howden||Con||no|
|Zac Goldsmith||Richmond Park||Con (front bench)||no|
|Charlotte Leslie||Bristol North West||Con (front bench)||no|
|Anne Main||St Albans||Con (front bench)||no|
|David Nuttall||Bury North||Con (front bench)||no|
|Chris White||Warwick and Leamington||Con (front bench)||no|
|Andrew George||St Ives||LDem (front bench)||no|
|Greg Mulholland||Leeds North West||LDem (front bench)||no|
|Adrian Sanders||Torbay||LDem (front bench)||no|
|Mark Williams||Ceredigion||LDem (front bench)||no|
|Roger Williams||Brecon and Radnorshire||LDem (front bench)||no|