Guidance for (Acting) Returning Officers administering a UK Parliamentary election in Great Britain

Changes to the registers of parties

Our register of parties contains up-to-date information about political parties, registered descriptions and emblems, and shows which names, descriptions and emblems are currently registered for each party.

Changes up to the publication of the notice of election

Removals or substitution of any registered party descriptions on the Commission’s register of political parties may take effect up to and including the day before the actual date the notice of election is published. 

It is important to note that this is not the last day for publication of the notice of election but the date the notice is actually published.1  

Once the notice of election is published any such changes to any party descriptions do not apply for that election.2  

For example, if you decide to publish your notice of election before the last day that the notice must be published by law, it is possible that a nomination may be submitted which bears a registered party description that no longer appears on the register of parties. 

If the deletion of the description has taken effect after you have published your notice of election but before the last day for publication of notice of election, the deletion does not apply to your election and the ‘old’ description is still valid. In such circumstances you can check with you local Commission team and whether or not the submitted party description applies for your election.3  

Changes up to two days before the final day for delivery of nomination papers

You should also note that parties may change their registered party name and emblems, and add any new description if they previously had registered fewer than 12, at any time until two days before the final day for delivery of nominations for that election.4  

New parties must also be registered two days before the final day for delivery of nominations for that election, in order to use names, descriptions and emblems at that poll. 

The table below sets out the deadlines for making changes to the register of political parties in the run up to a poll. After that point, any changes or deletions to any party descriptions do not apply for that election.5  

What does the party want to do the register of political parties?When can this be done?
Registration of new partiesNo later than two working days before the last day for the delivery of nominations at that election
Add any new descriptions where fewer than 12 are heldNo later than two working days before the last day for the delivery of nominations at that election6
Alter party names and/or emblemsNot later than two working days before the last day for the delivery of nominations at that election7
Remove or substitute any register descriptionUp to and including the day before the actual date for the publication of the notice of election8

Party description - not yet registered

Where a candidate attempts to submit a nomination paper bearing a description that has yet to be registered, you should advise the candidate not to formally submit the paper, but to take it back and submit it once the description has been successfully registered. 

If a candidate formally submits their nomination form with a description that is not yet registered, you must determine the nomination invalid on the basis that, when the determination is made, the description provided does not match any registered with the Commission.9   

You may wish to contact your local Commission team for confirmation that a description is not yet registered before making your determination. 

Last updated: 19 December 2023