New laws to promote the transparency and integrity of elections to the House of Keys come into force later this month, one year ahead of the next general election on September 22, 2016.
Under an appointed day order made by the Council of Ministers, parts of the amended Representation of the People Act are effective from September 23 this year. These include new provisions relating to ‘prospective candidates’ for the general election – anyone who publicly declares their intention to stand.
From September 23 a person who is or becomes a ‘prospective candidate’:
- Cannot spend more than £2,000, plus 50 pence per registered elector in the constituency, on their campaign overall, to avoid undue influence on the election process.
- Should keep a record of their spending in case any complaint is made after the election that they have spent too much.
- Should keep a record of donations received worth £50 or over, to support the declaration of donations that candidates must make before polling day.
- Must not retain any donation given anonymously.
- Must refuse support from a political party that is not registered under the Act.
These new provisions do NOT apply to any by-elections to the House of Keys taking place before the general election in September next year.
The amended Representation of the People Act includes changes recommended by an independent review following the Douglas East by-election in May 2010, as well as amendments arising from a public consultation. The legislation was given unopposed third readings in both the House of Keys and Legislative Council, and Royal Assent was announced in July this year.