Non-party campaigners: UK Parliamentary general elections

When do the non-party campaigner laws apply?

Spending by non-party campaigners is regulated in the period before a UKPGE and Northern Ireland Assembly elections. This is defined in PPERA as the ‘regulated period’.

UK Parliamentary general elections

The regulated period for non-party campaigners at a UKPGE is the 365 day period leading up to and including polling day.1

An election to the UK Parliament may be called at any time during the maximum five-year Parliamentary term.

Where the period of time between the announcement of an election and polling day is shorter than the length of the regulated period, the regulated period will still run for 365 days. The regulated period will be applied retrospectively and will cover a period before the election was announced.

Spending on campaign activities that take place during the retrospective regulated period, but prior to the announcement of an election, may be regulated. See section on the purpose test and the retrospective regulated period.

Where a second UKPGE is held within 365 days of the previous election, the second regulated period will start on the day after the first polling day and will run up to and including the second polling day.2

The regulated period

The regulated period

The regulated period for the 2024 UK Parliamentary general election (UKPGE) began on 6 July 2023, and runs to polling day on 4 July 2024.3   

This means that the regulated period will start well before the election is announced.

Any spending you have incurred on regulated campaign activities during the regulated period will count towards your spending limits. This includes where spending on regulated campaign activities you incurred before the start of the regulated period is treated as if you incurred it during the regulated period. By ‘incur’ we mean make a legal commitment to spend money, such as confirming an order.

It also includes any money spent on regulated activity relating to other elections other than the UKPGE that fall within the regulated period, including spending on any local elections or by-elections.


A campaigner runs a campaign targeting voters in constituencies holding by-elections on the same day. They co-ordinate local events and publish material in the lead up to the by-elections that criticise the government and encourage voters to vote tactically to prevent the incumbent party from retaining the seats.

They are aware that their campaign is likely to be regulated and so they keep detailed records of what they have spent and ensure their spending remains below the threshold. This is to ensure that if a UK Parliamentary general election is called, they will know how much regulated spending they have incurred in the regulated period.

Six months after the start of the campaign, a UK Parliamentary general election is called. As the regulated period extends back 365 days before polling day, any spending by the campaigner on the by-elections has taken place in the retrospective regulated period. 

Any regulated campaign spending by the campaigner during the regulated period will count towards their spending limit at the UKPGE. Depending on how much the campaigner spends, they may be required to submit a notification and report their spending after the election.

Last updated: 23 May 2024