Fines issued by Electoral Commission for parties breaking political finance rules
The Electoral Commission yesterday published details of a number of concluded investigations.
UKIP Northern Ireland
UKIP Northern Ireland has been fined £3,500 as it delivered an inaccurate spending return for the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly election.
The party delivered a nil return, and stated that all spending had been included in the individual returns delivered by candidates.
However, some of that spending was party rather than candidate spending, and should have been reported by the party.
The party has paid the fine.
Statements of accounts
The Commission has also fined a number of parties with income or expenditure less than £250,000 that failed to deliver annual accounts on time.
Bob Posner, Electoral Commission Director of Political Finance and Regulation, said:
“Annual accounts are the only information available to voters providing an overview of a party’s finances. In the case of parties which do not receive donations above the reporting threshold, it is also the only information available to voters as to the party’s income. That being the case it is important that these parties deliver accounts, and do so on time. The majority of smaller parties do so and we will take action where others do not.
“The Commission has asked the Government to consider increasing the level of fines which can be imposed for these types of offences, in order to ensure there continues to be a deterrent to parties breaching the rules.”
There are further cases being considered, which will be published when completed.
This information has been published as part of the Commission’s regular monthly investigations update, an important part of its commitment to deliver transparency in political finance in the UK. The full monthly investigations update, which includes details on all of the Commission’s recently concluded investigations, can be found on our website here.
For more information, contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Out of office hours 07789 920 414
Notes to editors
- The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. It works 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.
- This release forms part of the Commission’s regular monthly investigations update, an important part of its commitment to deliver transparency in political finance in the UK. Information of this nature is published routinely on the third Tuesday of each month. The full monthly investigations update, which includes details on all of the Commission’s recently concluded investigations, can be found on our website here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/roles-and-responsibilities/our-role-as-regulator-of-political-party-finances/sanctions
- Political parties have a maximum spending limit of £306,000 if they contest every constituency in Northern Ireland. The regulated period for the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly election began on began on 5 January 2016 and ended on polling day, 5 May 2016. See our media handbook for information here.
- Annual Statements of Accounts for 2016 for political parties and accounting units have been published by the Commission and can be viewed here. The deadline for parties and accounting units with income and expenditure under £250,000 was 30 April 2017 and for those with income or expenditure over £250,000 it was 7 July 2017.
- Penalties imposed by the Commission go into the Consolidated Fund. This is managed by HM Treasury and not the Electoral Commission.
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