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No 'side deal' on political donations with Tories, DUP's Donaldson says

By Sue Doherty

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has insisted that there was no "side deal" between the DUP and the Tories on disclosure of political donations.

The DUP MP was responding to a remark Tweeted Seamus Magee, the former Head of the Electoral Commission on Monday night.

Mr Magee wrote: "The deal on party donations and loans must be part of the DUP/Conservative deal. No other explanation."

He was referring to the announcement requirement for political parties to disclose donations applies from July 1, 2017 rather than having been backdated to 2014.

Mr Magee has since removed the Tweet.

Read more: Northern Ireland political party donations from Republic will be published

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday morning, Sir Jeffrey said it was "absolutely not" true that there was any side deal on donations.

He added: Let me be absolutely clear. I was deeply disappointed to read Seamus Magee's tweet last night.

"Totally innacurate.

"And I hope that Seamus, a man of integrity whom I respect, will take my word for it.

"There is no side deal on party political donations."

The DUP, Sir Jeffrey welcomed the disclosure requirements saying he didn't "have any particular difficulty" with them being backdated.

He called for the government to "close the loophole that allows Sinn Fein to bring money in through the back door of the Irish Republic".

Explaining that, "at the moment, only people registered in the United Kingdom can donate to political parties in Great Britain" he said that rule "should extend to Northern Ireland".

Sinn Fein should be required, he continued, to disclose any funding they bring in through the Irish Republic.

"We will be pressing for that change," he concluded.

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