The Electoral Commission

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

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Investigation into Momentum

We have investigated Momentum for failing to comply with political finance laws, both as a members association and when campaigning in the 2017 general election. We concluded that Momentum committed offences, and we have fined them £16,700.

Non-party campaigners are essential for a healthy democracy. But just as crucial is that after a poll, voters can see complete and accurate spending returns. This is the biggest fine that we have to date levied on a non-party campaigner for the submission of an inaccurate spending return. It reflects Momentum’s repeated revisions to their spending return, poor record keeping and failure to follow our advice prior to the election.

It is incumbent on non-party campaigners and members associations to invest properly in having the right processes and staff to meet their obligations.


Summary

Momentum was a non-party campaigner in the 2017 general election. Afterwards, as required, it submitted a report of its election spending by the required deadline. However, the report was not accurate and Momentum subsequently delivered four further versions after the deadline, each of which reported different amounts of donations and spending.

We opened an investigation on 16 November 2017 to determine whether Momentum broke political finance laws – set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) 2000 – when it delivered the inaccurate report. While investigating, we found evidence that Momentum may have committed further offences, this time in its capacity as a members association, in 2016 and 2017. We expanded the investigation accordingly.

We have concluded that Momentum committed a number of offences, and we have imposed fines totalling £16,700. The offences spanned 2016 and 2017. This is the biggest fine that we have imposed on a non-party campaigner for the submission of an inaccurate spending return to date.

Offences as a non-party campaigner

We have determined that Puru Miah, the then responsible person for Momentum as a recognised non-party campaigner at the 2017 general election, committed:

  • one offence under section 98(4)(b) PPERA of failing, without reasonable excuse, to submit a post poll donation report that was complete and accurate. The return omitted £22,958.46 of reportable donations. We have fined Momentum £2,700 for this offence
  • one offence under section 98(4)(b) PPERA of failing, without reasonable excuse, to provide all required invoices with the spending return. We have fined Momentum £250 for this offence
  • one offence under section 98(4)(b) PPERA of failing, without reasonable excuse, to submit a spending report that was complete and accurate. We have fined Momentum £12,150 for this offence
  • one offence under section 99(1) PPERA of failing to provide the required declaration to accompany the post poll donations report. We have fined Momentum £250 for this offence

Offences as a members association

We have determined that:

  • Michael Chessum, the then responsible person for Momentum as a members association, and Momentum itself, committed an offence each under paragraph 12(1)(b) of Schedule 7 of PPERA. Mr Chessum failed to report a donation of £10,000 within 30 days of accepting it. The donation was received on 21 July 2016 but not reported to us until 19 January 2019. We have fined Momentum £900 for this offence.
  • Mohammed Afridi, the then responsible person for Momentum as a members association, and Momentum itself, committed an offence each under paragraph 12(1)(b) of Schedule 7 PPERA. Mr Afridi failed to report a donation of £8,000 within 30 days of accepting it. The donation was received on 3 May 2017 but not reported to us until 17 July 2018. We have fined Momentum £450 for this offence.

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