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Lack of transparency over £6,000 Northern Ireland donations fine “concerning”

18th August 2017, London – The lack of details offered on a £6,000 fine connected to a Northern Ireland political donation is absurd, and more details should immediately be released, according to Transparency International UK.

 The Electoral Commission are unable to reveal any details on who has been fined or what rules have been broken, due to secrecy laws that apply only to Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland had been exempt from laws that required political parties to reveal who funds them, following concerns around security in the early 2000s. However, legislation was passed in 2014 allowing the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to reverse this and require political parties to reveal who is donating to them.

Rachel Davies, Head of Advocacy at Transparency International UK, said:

“The level of opaqueness and secrecy that continues to underpin Northern Irish politics is concerning. We know somebody somewhere has done something bad enough to be fined, but nothing more. There is no longer any excuse to deny full transparency.”

“The people of Northern Ireland deserve to know who’s funding their political parties and when the rules around managing these contributions are broken, public trust is eroded, which can only be bad for democracy.”

“We call on the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to urgently bring forward its promised legislation that would bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK on transparency over party funding.”

***ENDS***

 Notes to Editors:

The UK Government announced in [date] that it intends to bring about legislation that requires all political parties in Northern Ireland to publicly reveal the source of donations and loans. However it intends this information to start from 1st July 2017, despite legislation being passed in 2014 that exposed Northern Irish party funding from 1st January 2014 to potential future publication.

Sections 1 and 2 of the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 (NIMPA 2014) made amendments to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) that gives the Secretary of State the power to make an Order permitting the Electoral Commission to publish the details of all donation and loan reports submitted to it by Northern Ireland political parties after 1 January 2014.

See NIMPA 2014’s Explanatory Notes for more information.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/13/notes/division/3/1

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/13/notes/division/3/2

Contact
Dominic Kavakeb
020 3096 7695
079 6456 0340
Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk

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