Electoral Commission
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Monthly update - concluded investigations

Details of the investigations concluded in the last month were yesterday published by the Electoral Commission. This is an important part of delivering transparency in political finance in the UK.

Britain First

Britain First was a registered political party until November 2017. Although now de-registered, Britain First remains responsible for its actions while it was a registered political party. The Commission has imposed multiple penalties on Britain First on the following grounds:

  • Britain First failed to keep accurate financial records of its transactions in 2016. For breaking these rules, it received a fine of £11,000.
  • It also failed to provide quarterly donations reports for all quarters of 2016 and has been fined £7,700 for these offences. The Commission’s investigation found that around £200,000 worth of undeclared donations had been made to Britain First during 2016. These donations are yet to be reported to the Commission.
  • Britain First failed to have its 2016 statement of accounts audited by a qualified auditor, a legal requirement when parties have an annual income or expenditure over £250,000. It received a fine of £5,500 for this offence.
  • It failed to comply with a notice issued by the Commission that required it to provide information to us.  It received the maximum fine that the Commission can impose, £20,000, for this offence.

In total, Britain First has been fined £44,200. A payment arrangement between the party and the Commission has been agreed.

Commenting on the fines to Britain First, Louise Edwards, Director of Regulation, yesterday said:

“Today’s announcement concludes a thorough investigation into Britain First’s financial affairs which has resulted in us finding multiple breaches of the law. Registered political parties must provide full, accurate data on their donations and accounts so that voters can see where their money comes from. Britain First’s inability to meet certain basic requirements led to a disappointing lack of transparency into the party’s finances.

“The party’s failure to comply with a statutory notice is a serious offence and shows a disregard for the law. Throughout our investigation, we saw little to suggest that Britain First appreciated that if it wants to contest elections, it must meet its legal responsibilities, which is why we have imposed the penalties that we have.”

Investigations where offences were found and sanctions imposed:

Name and type of regulated entity

What was investigated

Decision taken

Outcome

Britain First (de-registered party)

Failure to keep accounting records; failure to deliver quarterly donations reports; failure to deliver an auditor’s report with annual statement of accounts; failure to comply with a statutory notice

£11,000, £7,700, £5,500 and £20,000 variable monetary penalties totalling £44,200

Payment arrangement agreed

Scottish National Party (Moray Constituency accounting unit)

Late delivery of 2017 statement of accounts

£200 fixed monetary penalty

Paid on 18 June 2019


Investigations where offences were found and no sanctions imposed:

Name and type of regulated entity

What was investigated

Decision taken

Outcome

Plaid Cymru (Gr┼Áp San Steffan / Westminster accounting unit)

Late delivery of 2015, 2016 and 2017 statement of accounts

No sanction

Closed without further action


For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or press@electoralcommission.org.uk

Notes to editors

  1. 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.

  2. 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. Details of sanctions from previous months can be found on our website.
  3. Penalties imposed by the Commission go into the Consolidated Fund. This is managed by HM Treasury and not the Electoral Commission.

 

Channel website: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk

Original article link: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/party-and-election-finance-to-keep/monthly-update-concluded-investigations14

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