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Guidance on registering and maintaining a party

We regulate the finances of political parties and maintain the registers of political parties in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This page contains all the guidance and forms you need to maintain a party.

What type of party do you want to register?

We register two types of party: a registered political party and a minor party.

Click here if you're not sure what kind of party you want to register

Registering a political party

A registered political party can apply to be registered on the Great Britain (GB) register, the Northern Ireland (NI) register, or both registers. Parties on the GB register also select which parts of GB they want to be registered in. Parties can choose a combination of England, Scotland and Wales.

Registering a minor party

A minor party is registered on the Great Britain register, but it can only contest parish council elections in England and community council elections in Wales. If you set up a minor party you will not have to submit as much information to us when applying to register, or be subject to the same degree of financial controls, compared to a registered political party.

Deadline for registration applications ahead of the May 2017 polls

The deadline to receive a decision on any registration applications for the May 2017 polls has now passed.

Registration applications ahead of the of the June 2017 UK Parliamentary general election

Because of the short time until the polls, we are unable to guarantee that any application lodged to register a new political party, amend a party name, amend or add an emblem, or to add a description will receive a decision in time for use on the ballot paper at the election.

In order to appear on the ballot paper, a party’s name, description or emblem must be registered with the Commission  by 9 May 2017, which is two days before the deadline for delivery of nomination papers to the Returning Officer.

The Commission must carefully assess applications in respect of party names, descriptions and emblems against the criteria set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, in order to reach a fair conclusion on registration, within the legislative requirements. Whilst we process all applications as quickly as possible, undertaking this necessary assessment process means that it is likely that a decision on any new applications will not be granted until after the deadline for delivery of nomination papers.

Please note if you are seeking to register a party in order to stand at the election and you do not receive a decision on your application in time, you may choose to stand as an independent candidate at the June 2017 UK Parliamentary general election.

Applications to substitute or remove a description

If an application to substitute or remove a description is granted at any time between:

  • the date of publication of the notice of election (including the date of publication)  at an election in which there are one or more candidates standing in the name of the party, and
  • the poll at the election,

the change does not take effect until the day following the poll.

This means that where a decision is granted on an application to substitute or remove a description on the day of publication of the notice of election or after, it will not take effect with regard to what can appear on the ballot paper for that election.

This means that where a decision is granted on an application to substitute or remove a description on the day of publication of the notice of election or after, it will not take effect with regard to what can appear on the ballot paper for that election.

Please note that the notice of election must be published no earlier than 5 May 2017 and no later than 8 May 2017.

Unfortunately that means that it is likely that a decision on any new applications will not be granted until after the deadline for delivery of nomination papers.

Applying to register online?

You can use our PEF Online services to do everything from registering your party, submitting your statutory returns to telling us you want to de-register your party. You will need to register as an online user and you can do this by emailing pef@electoralcommission.org.uk, calling our new number 0333 103 1928 or our old number 020 7271 0616 or by following this link:
PEF Online - Getting Started

Introduction

Registering a political party

This part covers:

Introduction_registering-a-party
  • An introduction to your responsibilities
  • Maintaining your party's details
  • Donations and loans responsibilities
  • Annual accounting responsibilities
  • Campaign spending responsibilities

Introduction to registering a political party (PDF)

Overview

Maintaining party details

This part covers:

Overview_Accounts_part_Treas

  • A summary of your responsibilities
  • Keeping clear and accurate records
  • Preparing your statement of accounts

 

Overview of maintaining party details (PDF)

Party or campaigner