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Electoral Commission fines the Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship” Treasurer and Ashfield and Mansfield Liberal Democrats

News release published: 14-06-2012

Two political parties have been sanctioned by the Electoral Commission, the independent party and election finance watchdog, for failing to submit their 2010 statement of accounts within their legal deadlines (see Notes to Editors).

Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”

Legal action to recover two fines totalling £2,750, imposed on Reverend George Hargreaves, Treasurer of the Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship” has been initiated.

The first fine was originally £500 for failure to provide accounts by the deadline of 7 July 2011. This automatically increased to £750 because it was not paid. A second fine of £2,000 is for Reverend Hargreaves’ failure to comply with a notice requiring accounts to be delivered to the Commission by 1 March 2012.

Ashfield and Mansfield Liberal Democrats accounting unit

The Ashfield and Mansfield accounting unit of the Liberal Democrats were issued with a £500 penalty for late delivery of their 2010 statement of accounts. The deadline was 30 April 2011 and they submitted them on 6 October 2011. The accounting unit has paid the fine.

Commenting on the Electoral Commission’s actions, Lisa Klein, Director of Party and Election Finance, said: “People have a right to know how parties are funded and how they spend their money. Providing a timely and accurate statement of accounts is an important part of ensuring a healthy democracy.”

For more information about the range of sanctions available to the Commission and how fines are calculated, visit: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/enforcement/sanctions

Ends

For further information please contact:
Karim Aziz, Electoral Commission Senior Media Relations Officer, on 020 7271 0704
Out of Hours 07789 920414

Notes to Editors

  1. The Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) 2000 established the Electoral Commission as an independent body to regulate political party financing and provided the legal framework under which the Commission operates. Under Section 45 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA), registered political parties must deliver a statement of accounts to the Commission within 4 months of the end of the party’s financial year if income and expenditure was less than £250,000, or within 6 months and 7 days of the end of the party’s financial year if the income or expenditure was over £250,000. In the case of the Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”, the original deadline was 7 July 2011. Under Section 45, as applied by Schedule 5, of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA), the registered treasurer of a party accounting unit must prepare an annual statement of accounts if income or expenditure exceeds £25,000 within four months of that accounting unit’s end of financial year. In the case of the Ashfield and Mansfield Liberal Democrats, the original deadline was 30 April 2011. The accounts were submitted on 6 October 2011.
  2. On the second Thursday of every month, the Electoral Commission publishes details of concluded cases where the Commission has imposed sanctions. These can include fixed or variable financial penalties or other sanctions such as a compliance notice.
  3. Fixed financial penalties are always a £200 fine and our usual policy is not to press release these. Variable financial penalties vary between £250 - £5,000 for prescribed contraventions and for offences triable in a magistrates’ court; or between £250 - £20,000 for offences triable in either a magistrates’ or crown court.
  4. The Electoral Commission is committed to ensuring transparency in party finance. As part of this process, the Commission will issue a press release where a political party or an individual have received a variable financial penalty and/or a compliance or restoration notice.
  5. For more information about the Commission’s range of sanctions and how fines are calculated, go to:
    www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/enforcement/sanctions
  6. To see political parties’ statements of account, go to: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/PEF-online-registers/statements-of-account
  7. Sanctions levied by the Commission go to the Consolidated Fund, not to the Electoral Commission.

Journalist