The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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Guidance on registering and maintaining a party

Deadline for applications ahead of the May 2019 polls in England and Northern Ireland

Applications to register a new political party, amend a party name, amend or add an emblem, or to add a description

In order to be likely to receive a decision from us on applications for use on ballot papers at the May 2019 polls, you must submit your application to us as soon as possible and no later than 12pm, Monday, 4 February 2019.

If we receive a complete application by 12pm on 4 February 2019, to do one of the following:

  • register a new political party
  • amend a party name
  • amend or add an emblem
  • add a description

We will aim to provide a decision by:

  • 1 April 2019 in England, two days before the deadline for delivery of nomination papers on 3 April 2019.
  • 6 April 2019 in Northern Ireland, two days before the deadline for delivery of nomination papers on 8 April 2019.

Please be aware that it usually takes about six weeks to process an application from the date that it is considered complete.
It is very important that you submit your application to us as soon as possible. You should not wait until 12pm on Monday, 4 February 2019 to submit it.

If your application is not complete on submission and requires further information to be provided, you may not have time to amend it and still receive a decision before the deadline.

Applications that are not submitted as soon as possible and no later than 12pm, on Monday, 4 February 2019, are unlikely to receive a decision in time for inclusion on a ballot paper for the May 2019 polls.

Applications to substitute or remove a description

If you intend to submit an application of this type, please contact us as the rules apply differently for applications to substitute or remove a description.

Where a decision is made to approve the substitution or removal of a description on the day of publication of the notice of election or after, it will not take effect until after the election.

You must ensure you deliver your application to us well before the date of publication of the notice of election at which you intend to stand candidates to allow time for it to go through the application process. Please note, the date of publication may vary for each local authority.

The notice of election for elections on 2 May 2019 must be published no later than 26 March 2019. However, local authorities may individually choose to publish the notice sooner than that.

We endeavour to process all complete applications as soon as possible and aim to let parties know the result of their application within about six weeks. We must carefully assess applications against the criteria set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. We undertake this process to ensure we reach a fair conclusion within the legal requirements.

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.

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.

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, calling our new number 0333 103 1928 or our old number 020 7271 0616 or by following this link:
PEF Online - Getting Started


Registering a political party

This part covers:

  • 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)


Maintaining party details

This part covers:


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


Overview of maintaining party details (PDF)

Party or campaigner