The Brexit Party, headed up by the former UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, is finding itself under the microscope of the Electoral Commission.

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The Brexit Party has been ordered by the Electoral Commission to overhaul its donations procedures to ensure foreign donations cannot get through and to also go back and check on all of the £2.5 million it has reportedly received.

This comes after the visit the electoral watchdog made to The Brexit Party HQ on the 21st of May, after which it said that:

"We have concluded that the fundraising structure adopted by the party leaves it open to a high and on-going risk of receiving and accepting impermissible donations."

And the Independent quotes an Electoral Commission spokesman as saying:

"Based on the information we reviewed, we assess the party to be at risk of noncompliance with its financial scheme and obligations under PPERA."

Which is the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

And they went on to say:

"In particular, the fundraising structure the party has adopted, coupled with insufficient procedures, leaves it open to a high and ongoing risk of receiving and accepting impermissible donations, and being unable to maintain accurate records of transactions."

And the chairman of the Brexit Party, Richard Tice, when asked about the potential for impermissible donations, has reportedly said: "I don't sit in front of the PayPal account all day" and "I don't know what currencies people are paying in".

The Electoral Commission has put together a 'high risk' action plan for The Brexit Party to follow, where the party is expected to:

Look at all the payments it has received, even the ones below the £500 anonymity limit, and report any breaches of electoral donations laws.

Change its online donation acceptance system to take names and addresses of all donors and only accept payment when the card address matches.

Increase the £500 limit on donations, as it this limit that could encourage people to make multiple donations that don't get declared as they should be.

Ensure people can only sign up as registered supporters by using the payments process.

And any money from impermissible donations is to be paid back or handed over to the Electoral Commission.

On top of that, says the New European, The Brexit Party "…must also retrospectively report all goods and services offered to both national and regional organisers during the EU elections."

The Commission did report on the 12th of June that The Brexit Party had handed back one donation of £1,000 as it could not identify whether it was from a permissible source or not.

It does seem that The Brexit Party has, rightly or wrongly, attracted the attention of the Electoral Commission.

And I suppose it depends on which side the the Brexit fence you sit on as to how justified you feel this action has been.

But to put this in context, the Labour Party has paid a few fines this year, one of them was a record £12,000.

The Commission has also taken Momentum to task imposing fines on that organisation totalling £16,700.

Sources:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-party-farage-donations-paypal-foreign-electoral-commission-a8964046.html

https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/electoral-commission-on-brexit-party-funding-1-6112383

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/labour-party/news/104673/labour-slapped-£1000-fine-election-watchdog

https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/253832/Final-Momentum-report-English.pdf

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/labour-party/news/101117/electoral-commission-imposes-record-fine-labour

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