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DONATIONS TO POLITICAL PARTIES FOR FIRST QUARTER 2004 PUBLISHED

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Donations to political parties during the first quarter of 2004 are published today by The Electoral Commission. Do...
Donations to political parties during the first quarter of 2004 are published today by The Electoral Commission. Donations from 1 January to 31 March 2004 are listed on the commission's website.

10 parties reported donations totalling£ 6,696,013 for the first quarter:

British National Party£ 26,014

Conservative & Unionist Party£ 2,645,283

Co-operative Party£ 45,487

Green Party£ 36,646

Labour Party£ 2,546,400

Liberal Democrats£ 947,262

New Party [The]£ 75,000

Prolife£ 7,100

Scottish National Party£ 115,069

United Kingdom Independence Party£ 251,750

In addition, a number of donations that should have been reported in previous quarters have been included in the latest returns. These are£7,100 to Prolife,£6,506 to the Labour Party,£6,000 to the Conservative & Unionist Party,£5,848 to the Scottish National Party and£3,400 to the Green Party. Impermissible donations of£1,500 to the British National Party,£12,892 to the Green Party and£300 to the Liberal Democrats were returned.

The Electoral Commission has now completed its investigation into the Labour Party's failure to report donations on time for earlier reporting periods. Although the investigation identified areas for improvement in the party's procedures, the commission is satisfied that the party treasurer took all reasonable steps and exercised due diligence to meet the reporting requirements for the relevant periods. The commission will take no further action in relation to the late reporting of those donations.

The commission will, however, continue to work with the Labour Party and other parties to improve their compliance arrangements and to monitor closely for any systemic failure to meet the reporting requirements of the Act [1].

Notes

1.The Political Parties, Elections a nd Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) requires registered political parties to submit quarterly donation reports to the commission. These reports must include all donations over£5000 to main political party offices and over£1,000 to constituency or local party offices. A person commits an offence if they knowingly or recklessly make a false declaration with regard to the receipt of donations during a particular quarter.

2.PPERA came into force on the 16 February 2001 and gives the commission authority to oversee new controls on donations to political parties. Parties may only accept donations of over£200 if they are deemed 'permissible' by PPERA. 'Permissible' donors includes individuals who are listed on the UK electoral register, or companies which are UK registered and carrying out business in the UK. Parties on the Northern Ireland register of political parties are exempt from the donation controls for a period of four years.

3.Failing to submit donations reports can have serious implications:

a.Failure to submit a return in time: a civil offence is committed by the party (s.147(2)) and a criminal offence by the treasurer (s.65(3)).

b.Failure to submit a return that meets the requirements of the PPERA: a criminal offence by the treasurer (s.65(4)).

c.Making a false declaration on a return: criminal offence by the treasurer (s.66(5)).

The Electoral Commission is an independent body established by UK parliament. It aims to ensure public confidence and participation in the democratic process within the UK through modernisation of the electoral process, promotion of public awareness of electoral matters, and regulation of political parties.

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