Electoral Commission: No DUP talks on naming Brexit donor

Jeffrey Donaldson said the discussions did not include the issue of naming donors
Jeffrey Donaldson said the discussions did not include the issue of naming donors

The Electoral Commission has insisted there have been no discussions with the DUP over the publication of the party’s pro-Brexit donors.

In an unusual step, the Electoral Commission issued a statement about the issue after DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the party had been in contact with the organisation in a bid to publish details of donors during the EU referendum campaign.

Sir Jeffrey later clarified his remarks saying that while there had been discussions with the Electoral Commission in relation to donations to the party, the discussions did not “specifically include the issue of publishing the names of donors”.

As pressure continues to mount on the DUP to reveal details of who bankrolled their expensive UK-wide pro-Brexit campaign, it is understood that the Electoral Commission intends to imminently publish how much political parties spent on the EU referendum.

The commission has said it could publish details on EU referendum campaign spending of over £250,000 by tomorrow.

Information on EU referendum campaign spending of over £250,000 will include how much was spent and what on.

More than £250,000 is believed to have been spent by the DUP to promote their leave Europe message.

As part of that campaign, they paid for an expensive four-page ‘Vote To Leave EU’ advertisement in the British Metro newspaper. The paper is available in London and other cities but not in Northern Ireland.

The DUP has been facing calls to reveal how the cash was raised for the campaign.

Sir Jeffrey said the party “want to see what can be published to the greatest level of transparency as soon as possible”.

“We are taking advice and are in discussions with others who are involved. People need to be consulted on this given that the law (in Northern Ireland) gives donors confidentiality.

“We are in discussions with a range of people, including the Electoral Commission.”