The Secretary of State, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, is writing to Northern Ireland’s political parties on next steps for the reform of the transparency of political donations and loans. The move follows earlier consultation and previous comments by the Secretary of State that progress should be made on the issue.
The parties’ views will be sought on ending the current arrangements, which require full confidentiality.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire said:
The political and security context in Northern Ireland has changed significantly since the last consultation on this issue and I know that political parties have been reflecting carefully on their previous positions.
Voters in Northern Ireland will also welcome more information about how their political parties are funded.
I would now like to seek views on whether the time is now right to move towards full transparency on donations and loans and to implement a change to the rules as soon as possible, bringing Northern Ireland into step with the wider UK.
Following consultation in 2010, the UK Government proposed amending the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 to provide for the Electoral Commission to publish information relating to Northern Ireland donations and loans without revealing the identities of donors or lenders. This led to provisions in the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014. The NIO is now seeking views from the political parties on whether the time is now right to move to full transparency.