Green Party opposes the culture of “under the table” political funding

Thursday 05 January 2017

Green Party leaders Steven Agnew and Clare Bailey discussed the issue of donor secrecy with officials from the Northern Ireland Office today.

The Green Party has been a consistent advocate for transparency around political donations and are the only NI party to publish all donations over £500.

Steven Agnew MLA said: “The Northern Ireland Office has upheld donor secrecy, despite legislation which gives the Secretary of State the power to bring us in line with the rest of the UK.

“This has created a culture of ‘under the table’ political funding.

“While donations continue to go unpublished, voters are denied the opportunity to understand the links between businesses and our politicians.

“People are overwhelmingly supportive of greater transparency in politics. The Secretary of State accepts this is as a given and understands that there is no need for another public consultation on the issue.

“Rather, Mr Brokenshire has written to the local parties to gather their views on the issue. The Green Party will respond in a positive way and I look forward to reading the responses from the other parties.

Steven Agnew MLA concluded:

“Public confidence in politics has taken a battering over the Renewable Heating Incentive scheme. Greater transparency is vital as we look to move forward.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. Following consultation in 2010, the UK Government proposed amending the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 to provide for the Electoral Commission to publish information relating to Northern Ireland donations and loans without revealing the identities of donors or lenders. A number of legislative steps need to be taken before this policy is implemented.
  1. Relevant provision was included in the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 and NIO has since been working with the Electoral Commission to draft secondary legislation to give full effect to the policy.
  1. The Secretary of State wrote to local parties to seek views on the issue of donor secrecy on 04 January 2017. The responses will be made before 31 January 2017.

Tags: , , ,