Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Theresa Villiers: political donors to stay secret

Northern Ireland will not yet be required to disclose the name of its political donors, Theresa Villiers has announced
Northern Ireland will not yet be required to disclose the name of its political donors, Theresa Villiers has announced

The security situation has not improved enough to allow the identities of party political donors in Northern Ireland to be made public, the Secretary of State said.

But Theresa Villiers told the House of Commons that she believed the amount and number of donations received by a party would be published, as well as whether the money came from the Republic.

Speaking at the second reading of the Northern Ireland (Miscellanous Provisions) Bill yesterday, Mrs Villiers said the threat level “has not improved sufficiently” to allow the publication of the names of people and businesses who fund parties here.

“The concern has always been that publication of donor names could deter people from making political donations because of fear of violent reprisal,” she said.

“Let me be clear, the Government's ultimate goal here is full transparency with the rules in Northern Ireland brought into line with the rest of the UK.”

Independent MP Lady Hermon said “the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland do want the anonymity of political donations removed”.

Nigel Dodds, the DUP's Westminster leader, told the Commons that Northern Ireland's Electoral Commission has concerns about the risks of intimidation of donors.

“This isn't just a party political thing,” he told the Commons.

The Bill will also block MPs from taking seats in the Assembly.