Amendment 8

Part of Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill - Committee – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Murphy of Torfaen Lord Murphy of Torfaen Labour 5:00 pm, 15th July 2019

There is something which is right about the amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Bruce: the whole of the United Kingdom should have similar regulations regarding transparency of donations and loans. The Committee will be aware that for decades this was virtually impossible in Northern Ireland, because people would be intimidated and worse if their donations to various political parties were made public and they were identified as possible targets. That was an obvious reason why the law in Northern Ireland was not the same as it was in the rest of the United Kingdom. Happily, the world has changed. There should be regulations which are common to all parts of our country.

There is an issue about people who were unaware when they gave donations that their names would be revealed; would they have given them if they had known that? We must take this into account, but we must not allow Northern Ireland to be used as a back-door conduit for donations simply because the law and regulations in Northern Ireland are different from those in the rest of the United Kingdom.