How political parties are registered

How political parties are registered

Political parties are vital to a healthy democracy. The Commission maintains the registers of political parties – one for Great Britain and one for Northern Ireland. To register, political parties must show that they are set up to be able to meet the obligations of electoral law. And, so that voters can mark their ballot paper with confidence, parties cannot have names, descriptions or emblems that are offensive, misleading or confusing. 

Did you know?

Did you know? 

  • Parties can only be registered if party candidates will be put up to contest elections. Otherwise, candidates can stand as independents and they don’t need to register a political party to stand for election
  • Once registered, a party’s name, description and emblem can appear on the ballot paper alongside the name of its candidate
  • Once registered a party has legal responsibilities under electoral law, such as reporting financial data to the Commission
  • If we refuse a party’s application, we tell the party why and the party can re-apply
  • Applications to register a party can be submitted online – our guidance will help with the process
  • We aim to reach a decision on registration applications as soon as possible, and within six weeks after we receive a complete application. We assess all applications carefully against the legal tests 

To register a party we need:

  • a completed application form and a fee of £150
  • a copy of the party’s constitution, setting out its structure and organisation
  • a copy of the party’s financial scheme, showing that it has the processes in place to comply with electoral finance laws
  • details of at least two officers, who must fill the roles of registered leader, treasurer and nominating officer 

The registration process

Last updated: 12 November 2020
Next review: 11 November 2021