Electoral Commission Guidance published on Lobbying Act

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Further to our earlier blog post about the Charity Commission's view of the impact of the Lobbying Act, the Electoral Commission has now issued guidance for charities on activities that may bring them within the definition of a non-party campaigner, when they would be required to register with the Electoral Commission and the rules that would then apply.

This guidance can be accessed here.

The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 (the Lobbying Act), which became law in January 2014, changed the rules in relation to campaigning by non-party campaigners in the run up to a general election. The new rules come into effect from 19 September 2014.

The Electoral Commission defines a non-party campaigner as an individual or organisation who campaigns in the period before a general election, but does not stand as a political party or candidate.

Although charity law prohibits charities from supporting or opposing a political party, charities that campaign for a change in the law in support of their charitable purposes, or campaign to mobilise support on a particular issue, may fall within the definition of a non-party campaigner.