Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 Section 3(2)

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 (Rule of Law) – in the House of Commons at 8:59 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Julian Smith Julian Smith The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 8:59 pm, 9th September 2019

I agree with the hon. Gentleman, and I pay tribute to the work he has done during his career for the citizens of Northern Ireland, but I would say that two SO24 debates today have given the business managers a major challenge.

The issue of transparency of donations to Northern Ireland parties is one which this Government take very seriously. We are rightly proud that we were able to secure agreement of the Northern Ireland parties and bring forward legislation to open up all donations from July 2017 to full public scrutiny. I am aware that many would like to see that transparency go further and apply retrospectively to 2014. The Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 provides that greater transparency could be introduced from 2014 at some point in the future. However, greater transparency must be weighed against possible risks to donors. Retrospective transparency should not threaten intimidation to those who have donated.