Belfast Telegraph

Tories among four parties fined for breaching election finance rules

Four political parties have been fined by the Electoral Commission for failing to comply with party finance rules.

A total of £8,000 fines have been issued in in Northern Ireland relating to the submission of spending returns at recent elections and regular reporting requirements.

The Conservatives have been fined £1,500 for late delivery of 2016 accounts and spending return for Northern Ireland Assembly in 2017. They also have inaccurate spending return from the Northern Ireland Assembly election in 2016.

Northern Ireland first has been fined £6,000 for failure to deliver four quarterly donations and loans report, their 2016 statement of accounts and they spending return for the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly. The party was de-registered by the Commission in November 2017 for failing to renew their annual registration status.

The Workers Party has been issued a fine of £1,300 for the late delivery of pre-poll reports for the 2017 UK Parliamentary General Election and spending return for Northern Ireland Assembly election in 2017. They have payed the fine.

The Independent Network party, also registered in Northern Ireland, has been fined £500 for late delivery of quarterly donation and loans report.

Ann Watt, Head of the Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland said: "The reporting requirements for political parties are clear, so it is disappointing that these parties have incurred multiple failures to provide accurate or complete information.

"Where the rules are not followed, transparency is lost and voters are deprived of information as to how campaigns have been funded."

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