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.

Yet another Brexit campaigner fined for breaking the law

Peter Harris, who campaigned for Brexit in last year's referendum, has been hit with a record £12,000 fine for breaking the law. more

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.


Keep up with news about elections by email

If you’d like to be notified by email when new posts about how are how our elections are run appear on this blog, just sign up here. (Note: if you’re already signed up for a daily email alert with all my new blog posts, then there’s no need to sign up for these alerts too as the stories will also be in the full daily digest.)

Interested in more stories about how our elections are run? Follow my dedicated election law channels on Facebook or Twitter which include bonus extra stories that don’t appear on this blog.

There are 2 comments

Share your views

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation policy