Electoral Commission response to successful appeal
The Court of Appeal yesterday overturned the High Court’s ruling in September 2018, on the interpretation of a point of law on referendum campaign donations and expenditure.
Commenting on the successful appeal, an Electoral Commission spokesperson yesterday said:
“The Court of Appeal has ruled that our original interpretation of electoral law was correct. The judgment provides the necessary clarity about campaign donations for all those taking part in elections and referendums. It should reassure political parties, campaigners and their donors that the Commission’s guidance is accurate, up to date and reliable.
“In July 2018 we found significant evidence of undeclared joint spending between the lead campaigner in the EU referendum, Vote Leave, and another campaign group, BeLeave. We fined Vote Leave for this offence; they have since accepted and paid the fine. Today’s ruling does not affect that outcome.”
- On 14 September 2018, the High Court ruled that donations from one campaign group to another are lawful, but that those donations may also have to be declared as expenditure by the person or campaign group making the donation, if it meets certain criteria as being for a specific purpose
- On 18 December 2018, the Electoral Commission was granted permission to appeal the judgment by the Court of Appeal. On 17 September 2019, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, setting aside the order made by the High Court. It ruled that the correct interpretation of the legislation – as always maintained by the Commission – is that a donation to a campaigner cannot also be an expense incurred by the donor.
- For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or email@example.com
Notes to editors
- The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
- enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
- regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
- using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy,
- aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency
The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.
Latest News from
Party and non-party campaigner spending of £250k or less at 2019 general election18/06/2020 15:52:00
The Electoral Commission has today published the campaign spending returns of political parties and registered non-party campaigners that spent £250,000 or less during the 2019 UK Parliamentary general election.
Statement on launch of CSPL review of electoral regulation08/06/2020 09:10:00
A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission yesterday commented on the launch of the Committee on Standards in Public Life's review of electoral regulation.
Statement on the Metropolitan Police's investigation into Vote Leave and Darren Grimes11/05/2020 16:33:00
A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission recently (08 May 2020) commented on the decision from the Met Police to close the investigation into Vote Leave and Darren Grimes.
Joint announcement by The Electoral Commission, Mr Robert Posner, Mr Arron Banks and Ms Elizabeth Bilney30/04/2020 12:38:00
The Electoral Commission, its Chief Executive Mr Robert Posner, Mr Arron Banks and Ms Elizabeth Bilney wish to announce that they have agreed amicable terms of settlement of a complaint raised by Mr Banks and Ms Bilney over the Electoral Commission's announcement on 1 November 2018 of its referral of Mr Banks and Ms Bilney to the National Crime Agency for further investigation over possible electoral offences in connection with the UK's 2016 EU membership referendum.
Party spending over £250,000 at the European Parliamentary elections published06/04/2020 09:15:00
The Electoral Commission has published the campaign spending returns of political parties that spent over £250,000 during the 2019 European Parliamentary elections.
Monthly update – concluded investigations18/03/2020 13:48:00
Details of the investigations concluded in the last month have been published today by the Electoral Commission. This is an important part of delivering transparency in political finance in the UK.
Latest quarterly political party donations in Northern Ireland published28/02/2020 13:25:00
Eight political parties registered in Northern Ireland reported accepting a total of £331,211 in donations and public funds in the fourth quarter of 2019, (October to December, covering the UK Parliamentary General Election), according to figures published by the Electoral Commission.
Record year and quarter for political party donations and loans in Great Britain27/02/2020 11:10:00
In 2019, political parties in Great Britain reported accepting over £113,119,000 in donations, the largest value ever reported in one year, according to new figures published today by the Electoral Commission. This is almost £40 million more than in 2017, the year with the previous largest value of donations.