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Overseas Donations (Political Parties)

Volume 512: debated on Tuesday 22 June 2010

8. What recent representations the Electoral Commission has received on the adequacy of its powers to investigate donations from overseas to political parties. (3394)

The Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 strengthens the commission’s investigatory powers, subject to the necessary secondary legislation, which is currently before Parliament. The commission has recently consulted on its proposed enforcement policy, which sets out how it intends to exercise those powers, and has received a number of representations in response to the consultation.

Michael Ashcroft and his pals spent £250,000 trying to remove me from my seat. [Interruption.] I am pleased to report to the House that Labour increased its majority. Why is the Electoral Commission unable to find out how much of Ashcroft’s money comes from abroad, why does the Tory party refuse to help it, and why does the commission not have the powers to hold the Tory party accountable for its failure to reveal precisely where the Ashcroft money comes from?

In all the hubbub, I could not quite hear whether the hon. Gentleman was saying Lord Ashcroft or Lord Paul.

The hon. Gentleman knows that individual investigatory matters are not brought before the Speaker’s Committee. I am aware, however, that he has made a complaint, and the Electoral Commission will respond to it in due course.