Registering and maintaining a party

Party registration applications ahead of May 2024 polls

18 October 2023:

Party registration applications ahead of May 2024 polls

Are you thinking about standing candidates at one of the elections taking place on 02 May 2024?

If you would like to register a new political party or change the details that can appear on a ballot paper for an existing party in time for the May 2024 polls, please submit your completed application to us as early as possible. We need to ensure that there is enough time for us to undertake our assessment and decision-making process.

We assess applications on a case-by-case basis, against complex legal tests. This takes time, meaning that a decision will not be granted immediately. Where a party has submitted an application containing all the information required by law, we usually reach a decision within seven weeks of submission. However, it may take longer than this, particularly where the application is complex, or where we have received a large number of applications. This is usually the case as we get close to elections.

We consider each application on a first-come-first-served basis, and we do not prioritise or fast-track applications. If we refuse your application, and you submit a fresh one, this new application will be at the back of the assessment queue.

We recommend you apply at least two to three months before the date by which we must take a final decision.

Please read our guidance before submitting any application.

The deadline for final decisions

There are registration deadlines that new parties must meet in order to contest each type of election. Similarly, there are deadlines by which we must take decisions on applications made by existing parties that want to make changes to their names, descriptions, or emblems. These dates are outlined in the table below.

Type of electionNew parties must be registered by…Applications to change existing party details (names, emblems, descriptions) must be added to the register by…
  • Combined authority and Local authority mayoral elections in England (excluding the London mayoral election)

  • Local elections in England and Wales (excluding Greater London Authority elections)

  • Parish and community council elections in England and Wales
Wednesday 03 April 2024Wednesday 03 April 2024
  • Greater London Authority elections (including the London mayoral election)
Monday 25 March 2024Monday 25 March 2024

Separate rules apply for applications to substitute or remove descriptions – this is explained in more detail below.

Application to replace or remove a description

If we decide to approve an application to replace or remove a description, and that decision is taken between or on:

  • the date of publication of the notice of election; and

  • polling day

then the change will not take effect until after polling day, and you will not be able to use any newly substituted description at that election.

Please note that the notice of election must be published before:

  • Wednesday 27 March 2024 for the elections taking place on 02 May 2024 (excluding London mayoral and Greater London Authority elections)
  • Tuesday 19 March 2024 for Greater London Authority and London mayoral elections

Party registration applications ahead of a UK parliamentary general election

18 October 2023:

Party registration applications ahead of a UK parliamentary general election

Electoral law sets out that a UK parliamentary general election must be held by 28 January 2025 at the latest.

Polling day for a general election takes place 25 working days after parliament has been dissolved. There is no minimum required notice period for an announcement to dissolve parliament.

It is therefore highly likely that when the date of the next general election is officially confirmed, there will not be sufficient time to apply to register new parties; or add or change names, descriptions, and emblems for existing parties.

If you are considering standing candidates at the next general election and need to apply to register or make changes to your party’s register entry, you should submit registration applications early to ensure that we have sufficient time for us to take a decision on your application.

Upcoming changes to the law for new political parties

8 November 2022:

Changes to the law for new political parties

From 24 November 2022 a new legal requirement applies, meaning that if you register a new political party you need to make a declaration regarding the assets and liabilities held by the party you wish to register. If the total value of the party’s assets, or total amount of the party’s liabilities, are more than £500, you will also need to submit a record of assets and liabilities with your application to register the party. If the values are less you need to declare this, but no further information is required.