Dickson says Villiers has wasted an opportunity to increase transparency on donations

Alliance Chief Whip Stewart Dickson MLA has said that the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has wasted an opportunity to increase transparency around donations to political parties. In the draft Northern Ireland Miscellaneous Bill, there would be only a minor change to information around donations such as the possibility to release a list of donations without names or addresses.

In the rest of the UK, information about a donation from a single source to a political party above £7,500 is made public. Currently, in Northern Ireland that information is just given to the Electoral Commission but is not made public. The Alliance Party wants this information made public. Alliance have been voluntarily publishing this information on our website for the past year.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “The public in Northern Ireland should have access to the same information as people in England, Scotland or Wales about how political parties are funded and who their major donors are. The public can then judge for themselves whether such donors have any undue influence on that political party.

“It is important that in a democratic society, all political parties maintain a high level of transparency around large donations. It is for this reason that Alliance have been voluntarily published our Electoral Commission donation declarations on our website for the past year.

“It is a bit hypocritical to say that there should be special circumstances for political donations in Northern Ireland due to the security situation but then say that Northern Ireland is a safe place for foreign businesses to invest in. The Alliance Party has faced intimidation in recent months, however this has not changed our goal to see the official publication of our large donors, instead of us just voluntarily releasing this information.

“I hope that Theresa Villiers will alter this legislation when it comes before Westminster after she hears the criticism of this undemocratic proposal.”


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