Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has expressed disappointment after it was confirmed political donations dating back to 2014 will not be published, despite the Transparency of Donations and Loans Order 2018 passing at Westminster.
Mrs Long secured the legislation while an MP, meaning any large donor to a local party after January 2014, meeting the publication threshold in GB, was due to be revealed whenever the Secretary of State lifted the exemption. However, thanks to today’s vote, the effective date will be moved to July 2017, meaning donations given to local parties during a period including the previous two Assembly elections, two General elections, a local Government and European Parliamentary election and Brexit referendum will stay secret.
“Alliance has led the way on donor transparency, but today’s action ensures other parties can now hide their donors between 2014 and 2017. Others have talked about supporting donor transparency, with some even making commitments in various manifestos, but their actions have failed to live up to their pledges,” she said.
“For as long as secrecy remains around donations, allegations of corruption and cronyism will continue to poison public confidence in politics. The only way to deal with that is to meet the public desire for openness in politics, which has never been higher.
“The MPs who voted today to keep things secret will have to explain their actions to the public who have little faith in politics to act for the greater good, rather than personal or party interest.
However, today’s vote provides no excuse for local parties to hide behind. By following Alliance’s lead, they can still ensure all parties are open and accountable to the public, the way they should be.
“I challenge other parties to do as Alliance and the Green Party already do – publish your large donations voluntarily and do so to the original commencement date of January 2014. Only by demonstrating your active commitment to transparency can parties start to rebuild public trust and confidence in politics.”