Investigation: UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Overview

We have looked at whether, during 2015 and 2016, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) took donations from impermissible sources. We have concluded that they did not.

Summary

We have finished our investigation into whether the UKIP took impermissible donations from a European political party and foundation, namely the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE) and the Initiative for Direct Democracy in Europe (IDDE). We looked at this because of a decision by the European Parliament Bureau in December 2016 that ADDE and IDDE had broken its rules by spending its grant money on polling of interest to UKIP.

We found that:

  • the polling did look at geographical areas and Eurosceptic issues of potential strategic significance to UKIP at the time
  • two ADDE contractors who worked on some of the polling also worked as UKIP campaign managers during the 2015 general election
  • whilst the polling could have been of benefit to UKIP had it been provided, the evidence was insufficient to support a conclusion that the purpose of the polling was to be for the benefit of UKIP or that they received the polling results

We concluded that the polling did not meet the definition of a donation to UKIP under UK political finance rules.

Should new evidence come to light that makes it appropriate for us to look again at this matter, we would do so.

We recognise that the European Parliament Bureau came to a different conclusion in respect of the purpose and ultimate usage of the polling. Our conclusion is based on the evidence we got as part of our investigation into specific offences under UK political finance law. And it reflects the fact that by law, we are required to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that an offence has been committed.

UKIP is a registered political party in Great Britain. It is a member of a European political party called the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE). ADDE has an affiliated foundation, the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe (IDDE). UKIP must comply with the UK’s political finance rules; ADDE and IDDE are not subject to those rules.

Further information

Our investigation

In December 2016 the European Parliament Bureau (EPB) concluded that €500,616 spent by ADDE, and €33,864 spent by IDDE, in 2015 broke the rules for grants to European parties and foundations. This included spending on polling done within the UK which it concluded was done in the interest of UKIP. We investigated, getting information by issuing legal notices and interviewing key people. This gave us enough evidence to complete our investigation.

Investigation evidence

Our findings

While the ADDE and IDDE polling paid for by EFB grant money was on topics relevant to UKIP, we did not conclude that it was done to help UKIP, or that UKIP received any of the outputs from the work. Therefore, the polling work was not a donation to UKIP under UK political finance rules.

Our analysis and evidence

Last updated:
Next review: 4 July 2020