I understand that the draft rules for the Police and Crime Commissioners are currently with Police Authorities, the Electoral Commission and other consultees. Once again, you can search for draft legislation at legislation.gov.uk, where it is supposed to be, and find nothing. But the good folk at the Electoral Commission have published some highlights, which are further summarised below.
Remember folks, it’s only a draft, so the rules could change, but here are the main points:-
The draft rules on spending and donations include:
- a limit on what candidates can spend on campaigning between 8 October 2012 and polling day, of £2,362 plus 17.7p for every registered elector in the police area. (As an example, with Lancashire’s reputed 1.3 million electorate, this would work out at £232,462.)
- a limit on what other people and organisations campaigning for or against particular candidates can spend between 8 October 2012 and polling day, which is £50 plus 0.5p for each registered elector. (Again, in Lancashire this would work out at £6,550)
- no spending limits on national campaigning by political parties, or by non-party campaigners who support or oppose a group of candidates. At least one LibDem commentator sees this as weighted toward the Conservatives.
The Commission want the Government to do the sums for candidates to make it clear what the limit is in each area. The lack of national limits may mean there is no limit on the ‘long campaign’, i.e. the amounts spent before 8 October.
Such large sums may seem academic to many candidates who won’t have anything like that to spend, but remember, by the election a Second-Class stamp will cost 50p. In other words, if you had enough money, you still couldn’t afford to do a parliamentry-style mailshot to each voting household, because you would breach your spending limit. Difficult to see where the government’s favoured independent candidates fit in all this, with no existing machine to deliver their leaflets.
Anyone who wants to fundraise looks set to be bound by the following…
- candidates will only be able to accept donations over £50 from certain types of donor, such as individuals on an electoral register. These rules will apply to all donations that fund campaigning from 8 October 2012 onwards, including donations made before 8 October. The situation with donations below £50 is unclear, as is that with donations that fund campaigning before 8 October.
- these donations will also need to be reported and made public after the election.
Potential candidates may also need to tell the Commission about other donations to their campaign if they are:
- a member of a political party, or
- an elected councillor, an elected mayor, a Member of one of the UK’s parliaments and Assemblies, or a member of the European Parliament.