NIO consultation on end to secret donations to parties

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The Northern Ireland Office has begun a consultation on confidentiality arrangements governing donations and loans to political parties in NI.

The law currently states that a figure above a certain threshold must be reported to the Electoral Commission.

However, the commission is not permitted to release this information to the public.

Parliament has legislated for the confidentiality provisions to expire on 1 March 2011.

NIO minister Hugo Swire said the government in Westminster wanted to see "full transparency in politics and on the funding of political parties in particular".

"But I accept there have been real concerns in Northern Ireland about intimidation which has made it difficult to achieve this to date," he added.

"The current confidentiality arrangements expire in March and this provides the perfect opportunity to review and consult on this difficult issue.

"I would urge all those with an interest to respond to the consultation."

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