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Insight paper

The regulation of political finance: Choppier waters ahead?

What are the challenges to the current regulatory system for political finance?

Justin Fisher
A woman at an election result vote count tipping over a box of ballot papers onto the table.

Political parties cannot operate without income and, as a consequence, matters of political finance are of great importance to the quality of democracy and also a functioning constitution. Yet, somewhat ironically, political finance in the UK was effectively unregulated until 2000. 

The passing of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act in 2000 has been largely successful. But there are clear indications over the past decade that the effective regulation of political finance may become more difficult to deliver, in part because of technological change, internationalisation and the significant emergence of non-party actors.

This guest paper explores the challenges to the current regulatory system for political finance in greater depth. It also discusses how the system may need to develop to deal with those challenges.

The paper is part of the IfG and the Bennett Institute's review of the UK constitution

Institute for Government

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