Conservatives vote to keep mystery Euro referendum donation secret

During the 2016 European referendum, the DUP received £435,000 in a secret donation which was then spent on Brexit campaigning across the UK. The Conservatives have now ditched plans to make this donation public, ignoring the advice of the official regulator.

Funnelling money for campaigning outside Northern Ireland via a Northern Irish party such as the DUP exploited a loophole that exists just for the province.

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Due to its bloody history of polarised politics, the rules introduced across the rest of the UK in 2000 to make the source of large donations public were not immediately introduced for Northern Ireland.

The plan, however, was subsequently to remove this restriction for all donations from 2014 onward. This would have meant the source of the 2016 DUP referendum cash bonanza becoming public.

Except the Conservatives subsequently changed course, ignored the Electoral Commission’s advice, and decide to vote through this week only making public donations that took place subsequently.

As Michael Crick reports:

The source of a controversial donation to the Democratic Unionists during the Brexit campaign will remain secret, despite a vote to extend transparency rules to Northern Ireland.

The rules will only apply to donations made after July 2017, so anything relating to the Brexit referendum remains under wraps. And that includes a donation of more than £400,000 to the DUP which was spent on pro-Brexit adverts, including one in the London- based Metro newspaper which doesn’t even come out in Northern Ireland.


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2 responses to “Conservatives vote to keep mystery Euro referendum donation secret”

  1. When the law was changed, as a result of work by Naomi Long, then Alliance MP for E Belfast, it was possible for publication of all NI donations to be backdated to 1 Jan 2014. Everyone knew that. Yet Tories argued that this would be ‘unfair’ as parties didn’t know.

    Between 1.1.14 and 1.7.17 we had 1 Parliamentary election, 2 Assembly elections and the curious tale of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme in which, it is alleged, some DUP donors may have benefitted from inside information about the scheme closing. I did say “alleged”, as there is a judicial enquiry underway.

    There was more, much more, than the EU referendum and the Metro. The Tories and DUP have tried to cover it up. #WhatHaveTheyGotToHide?

  2. Oops.
    That was 1 European Parliamentary election, 2 Parliamentary general elections, 2Assembly elections, etc …

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