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Coalition suggests fix for third party rules

Media Release: For Immediate Release
14 August 2007

Coalition for Open Government suggests fix for third party rules

The Coalition for Open Government says the problems with the third party rules in the Electoral Finance Bill can be fairly easily fixed.

"If we tweaked the Bill and used the wording in the British law, most of the problems would be solved," said Steven Price, spokesperson for the Coalition. "Then we could focus on the real scandal with the Bill: its failure to do anything about huge sums given to political parties in secret."

The Coalition welcomes the Prime Minister's statement that the bill would be altered in select committee.

"It's really time to stop talking about problems with the bill and start talking about solutions. Most people and most parties seem to agree that it's extremely important to have reasonable restrictions on groups like the Exclusive Brethren who want to try to use their big chequebooks to swing elections."

"It would be helpful if the politicians would stop trying to use the bill to score political points and start trying constructively to make it work."

The Coalition suggests that the law on third parties should control advertisements that " can reasonably be regarded as intended to promote or procure electoral success at any relevant election". This is the phrasing used in the UK's Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

That puts the focus on advertising campaigns that are designed to influence the election, which is where it should be - and still covers advertisements wherever they appear (such as on the Internet) as the Government is attempting to do.


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