Party spending in Northern Ireland at 2019 general election published

Summary

The Electoral Commission has today published the campaign spending returns of political parties that contested the 2019 UK Parliamentary general election in Northern Ireland. 

The ten political parties that contested the general election in Northern Ireland reported spending a combined total of £120,996 during the regulated period that ran from 13 December 2018 until polling day, 12 December 2019. 

Commenting on the returns from political parties and campaigners, Cahir Hughes, Head of Electoral Commission Northern Ireland, said:

“This is the first publication of spending information relating to last year’s general election, an important part of the transparency which is essential to our democratic process.  It is vital that voters are able to see clearly and accurately how money is spent on influencing them at elections. 

“For future elections, we have recommended that the law be changed so that parties and campaigners have to provide voters with more detail about how they spend their money at elections. This sits alongside other recommended changes to improve transparency and to address public concerns about who has produced and paid for the political campaign material they see online.”

Reported spending by Northern Ireland parties that contested the 2019 UK Parliamentary election:

PartyExpenditure
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland£21,778
Aontú£678
Conservative and Unionist Party£22,017
Democratic Unionist Party - D.U.P.£16,064
Green Party£1
People Before Profit Alliance£130
SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party)£19,612
Sinn Féin£34,684
UK Independence Party (UKIP)£0
Ulster Unionist Party£6,032

Spending returns of parties in Great Britain and non-party campaigners that spent under £250,000 at the election have also been published today.

Candidate spending returns

Candidates who stood in last year’s general election have already reported their spending to the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland. The returns that were submitted are available to view on our candidate expenses tool

Combined spending rules and the European Parliamentary Elections in May 2019

The regulated period for the 2019 UK Parliamentary general election started on 13 December 2018 and ran until 12 December 2019. This means that the spending returns published today must also include in their total spending that relates to the European Parliamentary Elections that took place in May 2019.

The figures in this release only include the general election spending. 

The spending returns for the European Parliamentary Elections are already available.   

Ends

For more information contact Mairaid McMahon on 028 9089 4029 or 07920 478061 (or out of office hours 07789 920 414) or email mmcmahon@electoralcommission.org.uk or press@electoralcommission.org.uk. 
 

Notes to editors

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, 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.

Our statutory post-poll report on the 2019 UK general election was published in April and includes details of our campaign related recommendations. 

Non-party campaigners must register with the Commission if they intend to spend more than £20,000 in England or £10,000 in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland on regulated activity during the regulated period.

Political parties and non-party campaigners that spent under £250,000 at the UK Parliamentary General Election were required to submit their returns by 12 March 2020. 

Political parties and non-party campaigners that spent over £250,000 have until 12 June 2020 to submit their audited returns. No parties in Northern Ireland reported spending over £250,000 at the general election.

Full breakdown of party expenditure is available.

At unscheduled general elections, non-party campaigners must report in their spending returns any donations over £7,500 they received. These donations must also be reported during the pre-poll reporting period. They do not report donations quarterly as parties do. Donations to political parties in the first quarter of 2020 were published last week.

Every political party that contested the general election is required to submit campaign expenditure returns to the Electoral Commission, as well as non-party campaigners who spent over the registration thresholds. 

In order to publish the information as quickly as possible, the Commission has published the returns as they were submitted, rather than seeking to resolve any issues with accuracy or completeness first. The accuracy of the content is the responsibility of the party or campaigner and publishing the returns as received means voters can see the actual information submitted. Where inaccuracies or incomplete information have been identified, the Commission will seek to resolve these with the relevant party or campaigner, and consider any possible offences in line with its Enforcement Policy as usual.

The deadline for these returns was 12 March 2020, before significant restrictions were imposed in relation to the COVID19 pandemic. We recognise that there may nonetheless have been some impact on the ability of parties and campaigners to deliver these returns, and we will consider any such circumstances in deciding what, if any, action to take in each individual case.