UK government pressed to backdate publication of political donations to 2014

The UK government is facing calls from opposition MPs to allow the backdated publication of Northern Ireland political donations from January 2014.

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Smith has alleged that the government is “doing the DUP’s dirty work” by moving the date of publication from 2014 to 1 July 2017.

The Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 provides for the Northern Ireland Secretary to allow or require the Electoral Commission to publish information about political donations in Northern Ireland from no earlier than 1 January 2014.

However, the UK government has instead whipped its MPs to back The Transparency of Donations and Loans etc. (Northern Ireland

Political Parties) Order 2018 which provides for publication of donations from summer 2017, something opposition MPs say will prevent scrutiny of donations made during the 2016 EU membership referendum.

Questions have been aimed at the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) since it emerged the party had spent £280,000 on a four-page wrap-around pro-Brexit advert in the free Metro newspaper, which is circulated in Great Britain but not in Northern Ireland.

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