Independent Network Becomes a Third Party

The Independent Network registered as a Third Party with the Electoral Commission last month, enabling it to legally campaign on behalf of independent candidates.

The Electoral Commission defines a Third Party as ‘an individual or organisation that is not standing or fielding candidates at an election, but which campaigns for or against a political party, parties of candidates at the election’.

According to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) any individual or organisation that wishes to spend more than £10,000 (or 5,000 in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) in campaigning at Parliamentary elections must legally register as a Third Party.

There are currently only thirteen recognised Third Parties in the UK. These include the pressure group 38 degrees and the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

Being officially registered as a Third Party provides numerous benefits to the IN and more importantly to independent candidates.

Brian Ahearne of the IN explains ‘Registering as a Third Party gives us an official legal status in the political world. It is also extremely important for transparency, our accounts will be available to the public online, including our donations and expenditure.’

He continues, ‘It also enables us to spend up to nearly a million pounds campaigning on behalf of UK independent parliamentary candidates. At the moment we are running on a shoe string, but we hope that supporters will be able to provide us with generous donations to enable us to carry out a national campaign for independents.’

The IN is keen to point out that registering as a Third Party is entirely dissimilar from registering as a Political Party and is a necessary legal requirement.

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