NIO Minister of State, Hugo Swire MP, has today launched a public consultation on the confidentiality arrangements that apply to donations and loans to Northern Ireland political parties.
The law currently provides for donations and loans above certain thresholds to be reported to the Electoral Commission, but the Commission is under a strict duty not to release information relating to these to the public.
Parliament has legislated for these confidentiality provisions to expire on 1 March 2011.
The Minister said: **“We all want to see full transparency in politics and on the funding of political parties in particular.
But I accept there have been real concerns in Northern Ireland about intimidation which has made it difficult to achieve this to date.
The current confidentiality arrangements expire in March and this provides the perfect opportunity to review and consult on this difficult issue.
I would urge all those with an interest to respond to the consultation.”
The consultation paper is available at www.nio.gov.uk. The consultation will last for 12 weeks and the closing date is 25 October 2010