Belfast Telegraph

TUV fined £1,850 for electoral rule breaches

By Rebecca Black

The TUV has been fined almost £2,000 by the Electoral Commission for handing in spending reports late.

Jim Allister's party was fined £1,850 for late delivery of pre-poll reports for the 2017 general election, 2016 statement of accounts, and campaign expenditure return for the 2017 Assembly election. Among the other UK parties stung were the Liberal Democrats.

They were fined £18,000 for two breaches, which nears the Commission's maximum fine of £20,000.

The first, of £17,000, was imposed for failing to provide acceptable invoices or receipts for 80 payments with a total value of more than £80,000.

In some cases no invoices or receipts were provided at all, and in others some were provided which were inadequate, such as credit card statements, or were incomplete. The second fine, of £1,000, was issued because some payments were reported in aggregate rather than as individual payments.

Bob Posner from the Electoral Commission said: "The reporting requirements for parties and campaigners at referendums and elections are clear, that's why it is disappointing that the Liberal Democrats didn't follow them correctly. The major political parties must ensure their internal governance is sufficiently invested in and resourced so they can be sure of meeting their legal obligations. Where the rules are not followed, transparency is lost which is not in the public interest or as parliament intended."

Meanwhile, Open Britain (formerly known as Britain Stronger in Europe) was fined £1,250 for failing to deliver a complete and accurate spending return for the EU referendum, the Immigrants Political Party was fined £2,500 for late delivery of its 2016 statement of accounts, and quarterly donations and loans report, and Labour Campaign for Human Rights was fined £1,350 for late reporting of donations by a members' association.

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