Speaking in response to a question from Alliance MP Mrs Long during today’s Northern Ireland Questions session in the House of Commons, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Andrew Murrison said “at the moment the security situation does not warrant” the releasing of donor information to bring us in line with the rest of the UK.
Alliance MP Mrs Long said the Government was promoting Northern Ireland as a safe and secure place to do business, while on the other hand using security as a reason for not revealing major political benefactors.
“In November 2013, I tabled a successful amendment to the NI Bill that would see any donation of £7,500 or more to parties from January 2014 eventually published when the Secretary of State lifts the security exemption.
“She was due to review the exemption in October 2014, yet here we are nearly half-a-year later and no further progress has been announced. I have never accepted security justifies the lack of transparency around donations. It is especially unconvincing to promote Northern Ireland as safe for tourism and investment while arguing the situation is too dire to allow normal democratic scrutiny of party finances
“After a number of scandals and questions posed to others about their finances, it is clear the public appetite for transparency in politics has never been greater. Until secrecy is removed, the suspicion that money buys influence can never truly be eliminated.”