11 political parties registered in Great Britain reported accepting a total of £6,835,235 in donations in the first quarter of 2019, according to new figures published today by the Electoral Commission. This is over £3.7m less than the amount accepted in the previous quarter, between 1 October 2018 and 31 December 2018.
Political parties must submit quarterly donation and loan returns. Within these returns, parties report:
- donations accepted above the £7,500 threshold (£1,500 to accounting units)
- smaller donations which add together to exceed the reporting threshold
- donations which ought to have been reported in previous quarters; and
- impermissible donations they have received and action taken in relation to these.
As a result of impermissible donations being returned and some donations being reported late, the amount reported by a party in a quarterly return may exceed the total accepted.
13 political parties reported donations between 1 January and 31 March 2019 and these were:
Total reported in Q1 2019
Donations accepted in Q1 2019 (excluding public funds)
Public funds accepted in Q1 2019
Total accepted in Q1 2019
Communist Party of Great Britain
Conservative and Unionist Party
Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales
Scottish National Party (SNP)
The Brexit Party
The Radical Party
UK Independence Party (UKIP)
Women’s Equality Party
In addition to these donations, during the first quarter of 2019 six parties accepted a total of more than £2 million in public funds (details in the table above).
The totals published today and set out above represent the sum of those donations large enough to be above the reporting thresholds. Parties will likely have received other donations from different individuals or bodies that are below the thresholds for reporting to the Commission. Taken as a total sum these can amount to substantial sources of income for parties.
Eight parties failed to meet the deadline for reporting for this quarter. The Commission will consider each of these matters in line with its Enforcement Policy and publish any sanctions applied at a later date.
The value of outstanding loans to political parties in Great Britain as of 31 March 2019 stood at £3,658,521 which is an increase of £166,397 compared with the end of the last quarter (31 December 2018).
Louise Edwards, Director of Regulation at the Electoral Commission, said:
“Publishing data about party donations and loans on our online database means voters can clearly see where political parties receive their funds from. This leads to a more trusted and transparent political finance system and helps ensure compliance.
“Where parties fail to deliver their return on time, and there is no reasonable explanation for such a failure, we will take a robust approach in dealing with this in line with our Enforcement Policy.”
Donations accepted by regulated donees in Q1 2019
The Commission also publishes donations accepted by regulated donees on a monthly basis. Regulated donees are members of registered political parties, holders of relevant elective office and members associations.
In the first quarter of 2019, £1,120,316 of donations were accepted by 62 donees. The total includes cash and non-cash donations, as well donations towards overseas visits. Full details are available on our website.
Type of regulated donee
Value of cash and non-cash donations accepted in Q1 2019
Value of donations accepted towards overseas visits in Q1 2019
Total value of donations accepted in Q1 2019
Members of the National Assembly for Wales
Members of the Greater London Assembly
Members of the UK Parliament
Members of the Scottish Parliament
A summary of donations reported by GB parties in the first quarter of 2019, including the highest donors and details of late reports, is available on the Commission’s website.
For information on donations and public funds reported by political parties and regulated donees in Northern Ireland, see our press release.
Full details of donations and loans are available on our registers.
For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
- The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
- enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focussing 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.
- The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) requires registered parties to report cash and non-cash donations and borrowing to the Electoral Commission on a quarterly basis. Political parties must report all donations and borrowing over £7,500 relating to the central party, or over £1,500 relating to an accounting unit. This includes aggregates of donations and loans from the same source during the calendar year.
- As the parties only report donations and loans over these thresholds, the figures do not include all donations and loans to political parties. Donations and loans under these thresholds are recorded in political parties’ annual Statements of Accounts.
- Public funds are donations from the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Scottish Parliament and the Electoral Commission. ‘Short’ and ‘Cranborne’ grants are available to parties in opposition in the House of Commons or House of Lords respectively.
- Some donations appear on the register as being from the Electoral Commission. These are Policy Development Grants, which were established by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 for parties represented in the Commons by two or more sitting members. The grants are intended to assist parties in developing the policies that they will present in an election manifesto. The legislation provides the total sum of £2 million annually for this purpose. Policy Development Grants became reportable as donations for the first time in quarter three of 2006 as a result of the Electoral Administration Act 2006.
- There were 346 registered political parties in Great Britain during quarter one 2019. 67 were required to submit a quarterly donation report and 56 to submit borrowing information within the deadline. The remaining political parties were exempt (unless they received donations) because they have previously submitted four consecutive nil returns.
- The figures reported for quarterly donations and borrowing have been rounded. The exact figures are available on our website.
- More information on what constitutes a regulated donee and their legal reporting requirements is available on our website.
- Members of Parliament report their accepted donations to the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.
- Members of Scottish Parliament report their accepted donations to the Register of Interests for the Scottish Parliament.
- All other regulated donees report their donations directly to us. We then publish this information monthly as part of our role in providing greater transparency in political finance in the UK.
- Northern Ireland
- Political party
- UK wide