Ford accuses other parties of ’empty words’ after donations revelation

David Ford MLA has accused other parties of “empty words” after it emerged only Alliance has called for the publication of political donations here to be backdated to 2014.

Mr Ford was speaking after the Secretary of State finally published responses from local parties to his consultation on bringing donations rules here into line with the rest of the UK. James Brokenshire announced this week donations would be published but only from July 1, 2017.

This decision is despite Naomi Long previously changing legislation at Westminster which meant the publication could be backdated to January 2014. The publication of the letters by the Secretary of State, which came after pressure from Alliance and media outlets, show Alliance were the only party to request this backdating.

“These letters show other parties are only paying lip service to transparency and are full of empty words when they say they wish to be fully clear in their dealings. Only Alliance, alongside the Green Party, publish our donations voluntarily and we have done for some time. There is nothing stopping other parties doing so immediately if they so wished.

“The Secretary of State has a duty to show leadership and stand up for the integrity of local politics. He should have noted the opinions of local parties on this issue and then shown that leadership by publishing donations backdated to 2014. It is the only conclusion anyone looking at this issue with a clear, neutral view could reach.

“Security reasons being cited for not backdating the publication are bogus – thanks to Naomi Long’s legislation, anyone who has donated to a political party here since January 2014 knew their details could be published at a future date. Alliance has also continued to publish our donations, even throughout the campaign of violence against our party.

“By not backdating the publication of donations here, James Brokenshire has given in and allowed those with self-interest in keeping these details hidden to make the call for him. He should be ashamed and the public should ask what those parties have got to hide.”

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