Donor move by Secretary of State no coincidence, says Ford

Alliance MLA David Ford has said it is no coincidence the Secretary of State has announced a consultation into the transparency of political donors, given recent increased pressure by Alliance on the issue.

Mr Ford was speaking after James Brokenshire stated he would be writing to local parties to seek their views on ending the current exemption, which sees donors kept secret, unlike across the rest of the UK.

Legislative change secured by Naomi Long at Westminster means names of single donors of over £7,500 since January 2014 will be published, in line with parties in Britain, as soon as the Secretary of State allows it.

“This is a welcome move, despite the fact the Secretary of State could simply make the change right now with a sweep of his pen,” said Mr Ford.

“However, I don’t believe today’s announcement is a coincidence – Alliance has continually been keeping the pressure on the rest of the local parties to follow our example and reveal donors voluntarily in line with the rest of the UK, particularly given allegations around the RHI scheme.

“Only yesterday, a motion at Belfast City Council brought by my colleague Councillor Kate Nicholl calling for donor transparency was passed, albeit with the DUP and UUP voting against it. It showed once again the time is right to let the public see just who is funding our parties and if they are exerting any influence.

“If people and parties have got nothing to hide, they will be able to support an immediate change in the law. The time for consultation has long past and the Secretary of State needs to act now.”

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