The independent elections watchdog
and regulator of party and election finance

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Non-party campaign spending and donations at elections

This page contains a high-level overview of the rules on campaign spending by non-party campaigners at elections and the funds they receive towards that spending.

Non-party campaigners are individuals or organisations that campaign in the run up to elections, but are not standing as political parties or candidates. In electoral law, we also call these individuals or organisations ‘third parties’. There are rules on this campaigning.

There are two types of non-party campaigns

These are:

Local campaigns - non-party campaigns for or against one or more candidates in a particular constituency, ward or other electoral area

General campaigns - non-party campaigns for or against a political party, or particular categories of candidates, including campaigns on policies or issues closely associated with a particular party or category of candidates (for example, candidates in a certain age group)

Rules on general campaigning: spending and donations

Campaigners spending more than a certain amount on general campaigning have to register with us.

There are limits on how much registered campaigners can spend. There are also controls on who can make donations and loans to them for the purpose of campaigning. Registered campaigners must record their campaign spending and donations they have received towards that spending. They must then send us this information in a spending return after the election.

We publish recognised third party spending returns online to ensure there is transparency about campaign spending at elections.

Guidance on non-party campaign spending

If you are thinking of campaigning in the run-up to an election but are not standing as a political party or candidate, please read our guidance for non-party campaigners.

Political parties, campaigning & donations