The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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Campaigners and political parties fined for breaching political finance rules

Published: 15 May 2018

Details of concluded investigations have been published today by the Electoral Commission. This information has been published as part of the Commission’s regular monthly investigations update, an important part of its commitment to deliver transparency in political finance in the UK.

Best for Our Future Limited

Best for Our Future Limited, a permitted participant at the EU referendum, was fined £2,000 for submitting an inaccurate spending return for the referendum. The return did not include donations received from the unions Unison and GMB. The fine was paid in full on 10 May 2018.

Unison

Unison, a permitted participant at the EU referendum, was given two separate fines of £500 and £1,000. The first fine was for submitting an inaccurate spending return at the EU referendum; it did not accurately report a donation made to Best for Our Future Limited. The second fine of £1,000 was due to the organisation’s late payment of an invoice. The fine was paid in full on 4 May 2018.

GMB

GMB was also fined £500 for not accurately reporting the donation made to Best for Our Future Limited in its spending return at the EU Referendum. The fine was paid in full on 24 April 2018.

The Democratic Party

The registered political party, The Democratic Party, has been fined £1,000 owing to the late delivery of its 2016 statement of accounts. The fine takes into account the party’s previous poor compliance history.  It is due for payment by 30 May 2018.

Commenting on the fines, Bob Posner, Director of Party Finance and Regulation & Legal Counsel at the Electoral Commission, said:

“The reporting requirements for political parties and campaign groups are clear, so it is always disappointing when parties report late or inaccurately. It’s vital that voters are given an opportunity to see accurate and full reportable data on what parties spend money on in order to influence them at elections. This provides transparency in the political finance system and is open for anyone to scrutinise. The Commission will continue to enforce these requirements to ensure voters have the information they need.”

Further fines

Details have been released by the Commission today of further fines, ranging from £200 to £600, imposed on five other registered political parties, one EU referendum participant, and one unincorporated association. We also publish the full monthly investigations update, which includes details on all of the Commission’s recently concluded investigations.

Where fines are not paid by the due date, the fines increase.

Ends

For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or press@electoralcommission.org.uk

Notes to editors

  1. The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. It works to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
    • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
    • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
    • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

    The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.

  2. This release forms part of the Commission’s regular monthly investigations update, an important part of its commitment to deliver transparency in political finance in the UK. Information of this nature is published routinely on the third Tuesday of each month.
  3. Penalties imposed by the Commission go into the Consolidated Fund. This is managed by HM Treasury and not the Electoral Commission.

Journalist