Media statement on removal of Tower Hamlets First from the Electoral Commission’s register of political parties
News release published: 29-04-2015
Following its consideration of the judgment issued on 23 April in the Tower Hamlets election petition, the Electoral Commission has announced that it has informed the registered treasurer of ‘Tower Hamlets First’ that the party has been removed from the register of political parties. Bob Posner, Director of Party and Election Finance, said, “Following the Court’s judgment in the Tower Hamlets election petition on 23 April, the Commission has concluded that Tower Hamlets First can no longer remain registered as a political party.
“This is because the Court’s consideration of the case made clear that the financial scheme the party was required to submit to the Commission when registering as political party had not subsequently been implemented. The Court's conclusions mean that the party’s registration is no longer valid and we have written to the party today confirming this.”
Background to the Commission’s decision
- The findings of the Court that are relevant to the Commission’s decision were:
that the documentation supporting the party’s application to register as a political party ‘formed no part of the running of the party’ (paragraph 273);
- that ‘there was no responsible financial scheme’ in place (paragraph 275).
By virtue of section 26 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) a party cannot be registered unless it has adopted a scheme which set out the arrangements for regulating the financial affairs of the party for the purposes of PPERA and this has been approved in writing by the Commission.
Tower Hamlets First submitted the correct paperwork to the Commission when registering the party. The barriers to registering as a political party are limited and the law requires only certain specific criteria to be met before we must add parties to the register. Parties are required to submit their constitution to the Commission and their proposed financial scheme to ensure the party can meet its legal requirements. However, compliance with a party’s constitution and financial scheme are not matters that the Commission has any regulatory role in monitoring, they are instead a matter for the party and its members.
As a result of the Election Court’s finding in paragraphs 273 and 275 (cited above) the Commission has concluded that the Party no longer has in effect an approved financial scheme as required by PPERA and has been removed from the register of political parties. The Commission’s decision does not preclude a future application to register ‘Tower Hamlets First’ but such application would have to meet the requirements of PPERA, including most particularly that l the Commission will need to be satisfied that the failings identified by the Court have been addressed before processing any application.
Notes to Editors
- The criteria for registering a political party can be found in the Commission’s guidance here.