Skip to main content

British National Party: Finance

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what steps were taken against the British National party for its late declaration of donations, fundraising abroad, the destruction of financial records and other irregularities referred to in the BBC Radio 4 programme File on Four in February 2008. (206597)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has taken enforcement action against the British National party on three occasions, fining the party a total of £1,750 for late submission of accounts and campaign expenditure reports. The individual civil penalties are listed as follows:

31 August 2007: Fined £1,000 for late submission of party’s 2006 Statement of Accounts;

24 October 2007: Fined £250 for late submission of Accounting Unit 2006 Statement of Accounts; and

21 December 2007: Fined £500 for late submission of Scottish Parliamentary campaign expenditure return

In addition, on two occasions, the BNP has submitted quarterly returns of donations late. Its quarter 1 2003 return was late by one day and its quarter 3 2006 return was two weeks late. However, the Commission did not begin imposing fines on political parties for late submission of donation returns until quarter 1 2007.

In relation to allegations of fundraising abroad, the Commission has made inquiries into this issue and was not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to establish that the British National Party had accepted impermissible donations.

Regarding the alleged destruction of financial records and other irregularities referred to in the BBC Radio 4 programme File on Four, the Electoral Commission reviewed a small number of shredded papers but was not able to establish that they provided evidence of a possible offence under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.