Political donations: NIO not promoting a transparent society

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The decision of Hugo Swire MP to extend the legislation which prevents the public from finding out about donations to political parties in Northern Ireland is shameful. This is not reasonable.

As the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats said in our submission to the Northern Ireland Office on this subject late last year,

1. A fair, free and open society The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality, and community and in which no one shall be enslaved, by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

2. Openness and transparency

The Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats fully support the openness and transparency that would be brought about by the full implementation of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 in Northern Ireland.

3. Recommendation

Therefore, we support the implementation of Option 12, id est Allow the prescribed period to expire and make the full register of donations available to the public.

Our position has not changed. I do not understand what parties – if not individuals – have got to hide. There ought to be public outcry about this. However, some people may be prepared to continue with the status quo: perhaps they have too much invested in getting politicians to do as they want.

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