BNP to be fined for donations

By Ian Dunt

The British National party (BNP) will be issued with a fine for failing to issue a return to the Electoral Commission concerning its donations.

The party will be issued with a separate fine for failing to deliver their latest annual statement of accounts.

“This is unacceptable and the party will be issued with fines for both reporting failures,” said Peter Wardle, chief executive of the Electoral Commission.

“We will also be assessing the systems they have in place to ensure compliance with the law.”

The BNP were not the only small party to face the disapproval of the commission, with the Co-operative party and the Christian party both reporting “very large” donations late.

“We’ll be assessing the systems they have in place to ensure compliance with the law and expect to see them reporting donations on time in the future,” Mr Wardle said.

The Conservatives received the most donations, with £6,394,673 going to the opposition.

Labour received £4,391,632, while the Liberal Democrats received £1,132,079.

The 20 political parties registered in Great Britain received a total of £13.2 million in donations between April and June 2009, according to returns handed in to the commission.

Figures were higher than normal, a fact most analysts put down to the local and European elections.

“This was the fourth highest quarter ever for donations – the second highest outside a general election quarter – and we received donations reports from a larger number of parties than usual,” Mr Wardle said.