Farry says DUP not exonerated by Electoral Commission Brexit money decision

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MLA has said the DUP have not been exonerated, after the Electoral Commission said it couldn’t investigate allegations against the party relating to Brexit ‘dark money’ due to legislation.

BBC’s Spotlight programme made a series of allegations around a £425,000 donation to the DUP. It was also alleged Vote Leave and the DUP had coordinated their campaigns.

However, the Electoral Commission has concluded it does not have the grounds to open an investigation into the allegations. It also noted it ‘continues to be prohibited by legislation from disclosing any information concerning donations made to Northern Ireland recipients prior to July 2017’.

“The serious questions regarding the funding and spending of the Leave Campaign in the Brexit referendum and the involvement of the DUP persist. Satisfactory explanations around a number of issues and situations remain,” said Dr Farry.

“As the complexities and difficulties of the Brexit process become ever clear, with continued unanswered allegations and unexplained aspects of the Brexit referendum, the legitimacy of the 2016 vote is increasingly called into question.

“This decision does not constitute an exoneration of the DUP but rather highlights the lack of robustness of the law, practice and accountability regarding the regulation election campaigns and referendums. The Electoral Commission appear to not be able to do more within the existing legal framework.

“An amendment to legislation by Naomi Long allowed for the backdating of donation transparency to January 2014 but the UK Government decided to change the date and only donations from 2017 have been made public, therefore not ensuring full transparency. The question needs to be asked – why?”
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