Full disclosure of party political donors' details under consideration
The UK Government is considering revealing full details of party political donors in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has written to local parties asking whether the time is right to move to complete openness and publish details of gifts and loans. Northern Ireland was not included in an earlier scheme requiring the reporting of donations over fears donors would be intimidated if their details were made public.
Belfast City councillors recently supported disclosing the names of those who make large donations to politicians.
Mr Brokenshire said: "I would now like to seek views on whether the time is now right to move towards full transparency on donations and loans and to implement a change to the rules as soon as possible, bringing Northern Ireland into step with the wider UK."
The parties' views will be sought on ending the current arrangements, which require full confidentiality.
The Conservative Cabinet member added: "The political and security context in Northern Ireland has changed significantly since the last consultation on this issue and I know that political parties have been reflecting carefully on their previous positions."
Following consultation in 2010, the UK Government proposed amending the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 to provide for the Electoral Commission to publish information relating to Northern Ireland donations and loans without revealing the identities of donors or lenders.
The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is now seeking views from the political parties on whether the time is now right to move to full transparency.
Mr Brokenshire said: "Voters in Northern Ireland will also welcome more information about how their political parties are funded."