Move towards transparency of donations must next include ban on foreign money: Wilson

20 December 2017

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has said that new rules around political donations in Northern Ireland must be extended to include foreign donations.

Sammy Wilson MP

DUP Parliamentary Spokesman on Education, Treasury and the Department of Work & Pensions.

Sammy Wilson

He was speaking after the issue was discussed at Westminster today.

The DUP MP said, “The DUP supports the move towards transparency of political donations in Northern Ireland. We support the proposals brought forward by the government, but they do not go far enough.

Some people are claiming that the provisions will bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the United Kingdom. This is simply untrue. In order to accommodate Sinn Fein there will still remain the ability for parties in Northern Ireland to receive foreign donations. This is a provision which does not apply anywhere else in the United Kingdom and will only benefit one political party.

Sinn Fein have raised millions of dollars in the United States and because of a refusal to close this loophole, that will be allowed to continue. Amongst all of those feigning outrage and claiming they do not go far enough there has been virtual silence about the failure in this area to bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the United Kingdom.

The Labour Party’s position is bizarre. Sinn Fein are the only party in the UK who benefit from foreign donations thanks to a gift from the last labour government and then today they voted against the measures on offer to improve transparency.

We have already had meetings with the Minister to demand that, any follow-up to this bill must extend to barring foreign donations in Northern Ireland. It seems that the main impediment to movement in this area has been from within the Northern Ireland Office. Their default position appears to be never to take any action which will annoy Sinn Fein as we have already seen with their advice of caution around the introduction of a budget by the Secretary of State, delaying the introduction of Direct Rule and now with political donations.”

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