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Party political purposes

Published: 20/08/2015
Updated: 20/08/2015


An organisation set up to be a political party or to advance a political party cannot become a charity.

This does not stop charities campaigning to further their charitable purposes.

Even if an organisation appears to have charitable purposes and provide public benefit, it cannot be a charity if:

  • it is a political party, or
  • one of its purposes is to advance a political party.

This does not stop charities from campaigning, lobbying or taking part in other political activity, as long as:

  • this activity advances their charitable purposes
  • the charity’s governing document does not prohibit this kind of activity
  • the activity is not advancing a particular political party
  • the charity trustees are acting in the charity’s interests, and with due care and diligence.

Campaigning, for example to change the law or the policy of public bodies, can be a charity’s main activity as long as it is advancing its charitable purposes,and political campaigning does not become a purpose in itself.