Monday, 24 September 2012

Unlock Democracy: Dragging Their Heels On Funding Laws

Parliament passed a crucial law in 2009 to prevent political parties from accepting money from non-domiciled donors. Yet in three years, the government has failed to take action and actually start enforcing it.

With the major parties continuing to accept cash from non-doms, we need to take action. Will you ask your MP to put pressure on the minister in charge Nick Clegg to enforce the existing legislation and insist that parties hand back the money?

Write to your MP now!

In 2009, the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 was passed which requires party donors to make a declaration that they are resident in the UK and pay UK income tax when donating more than £7,500. Three years later, it is still awaiting a commencement order from a government minister so the Electoral Commission can enforce the law.

Despite agreeing to change the law, the major parties are still accepting large sums of money from non-domiciled donors. The Conservative Party has received donations of £227,000 from from entrepreneur and Monaco resident David Instance in the last ten years, and £73,000 from property billionaires and Monaco residents the Candy brothers between 2009 and 2010. Also living in Monaco is Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay, who has donated £5 million to the party since 2001, but promised to stop in 2009. His company, Abbey Business Centre has picked up the slack, having donated £53,000 since then. Meanwhile, the Labour Party received £1 million from non-dom Lakshmi Mittal in April 2010.

The big donor culture needs to change, with caps being placed on donations to parties to end the scandals that repeatedly flare up. But before this happens, we need to demand something even smaller: that the government enforce legislation that already exists.

Please write to your MP, asking them to raise this crucial issue with Nick Clegg.

Take action now!

Many thanks,

Peter Facey
Director, Unlock Democracy