Time for parties to come clean on donors – Long

Alliance’s acting Leader, Naomi Long MLA, has said it is time for political parties in Northern Ireland to come clean about who funds them.

Currently, donations over £7500 from a single source are made public in the rest of the UK, but not Northern Ireland.

Mrs Long was speaking following publication of a report from Transparency International UK on political party funding. Naomi Long said: “For too long there has been secrecy about who is funding the political parties in Northern Ireland. While at Westminster I secured an amendment, which means that whenever the Secretary of State lifts the exemption, any such donation made since January 2014 will be made public.

“Alliance voluntarily publishes our large donor information and it is now time the other parties came clean and let the public know who is backing them. What have they to hide? They cannot cite security reasons when details of donations to individual election candidates are publicly available. Some time ago the DUP said they would publish details of donors, but so far have failed to follow the Alliance lead on transparency.

“This report from Transparency International UK highlights how a lack of controls on donations and campaign spending can leave the door open to cash for access and influence. They report that 28% of respondents to their survey thought that most or all MPs were corrupt. That is a worrying insight into how the public views Parliament and undoubtedly is reflected in low voter turnouts.

“One of the report’s recommendations deals specifically with Northern Ireland, calling for the introduction of transparency about the funding of political parties here by introducing the necessary legislation before the end of 2017. Alliance has been calling for this change for many years and I would urge the Secretary of State to remove the exemption immediately so the public can have confidence in our political system.”

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