All-Party Parliamentary Group
All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal, cross-party interest groups. They are not part of the official structure of the Houses of Parliament and are therefore not accorded any role or powers by it. Groups may or may not receive support from other organisations but if they do so and the benefit received by the group is below a certain financial value which is currently £1000.00 per calendar year, there is no requirement for the group to register it.
How groups keep their accounts is up to them, except that they must keep sufficient records to be able to meet the registration requirements detailed in the Guide to the Rules on All-Party Groups.
Any member of either House may turn up and speak at any meeting of any group; anyone else may only attend if invited by the group.
Groups have no official status in Parliament. Hence although some basic information about them is registered, they are under no lawful obligation to make their minutes or accounts publicly available.
According to the UK parliament's website:
- All Party Parliamentary Groups 'are regarded as relatively informal compared with other cross-party bodies such as select committees of the House. The membership of all-party groups mainly comprises backbench Members of the House of Commons and Lords but may also include ministers and non-parliamentarians. Groups flourish and wane according to the interests and enthusiasm of Members.Groups are classified either as subject groups (relating to a particular topic eg. forestry) or country groups (relating to a particular country or region)'.
Rules for all party groups can be found here.
- All-Party Parliamentary Groups in the House of Commons: Subject Groups
- All-Party Parliamentary Groups in the House of Commons: Country Groups