National Crime Agency Investigation: Javad Marandi - Commons Urgent Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:04 pm on 17 May 2023.

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The following Answer to an Urgent Question was given in the House of Commons on Tuesday 16 May.

“The honourable Lady asks about a law enforcement operation, and she and the House know that the Government do not and cannot comment on investigations being undertaken by law enforcement. This Chamber and this Dispatch Box are not the place, cannot and should not be the place, and never have been the place to comment on live investigations by law enforcement. That remains as much the case today as it has been for the last several decades.

UK electoral law sets out a stringent regime of donation controls to ensure that only those with a legitimate interest can make donations, and that those donations are transparent. Permissible donors include registered electors, UK-registered companies carrying out business in the UK, trade unions and other UK-based entities. I remind the House that this Government have taken significant steps to strengthen the integrity of our elections and to update electoral law to ensure that our democracy remains secure, modern, transparent and fair.

This includes reforms to election finance. The Elections Act 2022 introduced a restriction on foreign third-party campaigning at elections. It is an important and existing principle that only those with a legitimate interest in UK elections can spend money to seek to influence the electorate. The Act, moreover, strengthened transparency in the political finance framework by introducing a new requirement for political parties with assets and liabilities above £500, which of course includes the SNP, to produce an assets and liabilities declaration upon registration. It also introduced a new, lower, registration threshold for third-party campaigners spending more than £10,000 during the regulated period before an election.

The Government are developing a new anti-corruption strategy, which we plan to launch later this year, which seeks to address the impact of corruption on our national security and to strengthen trust in our institutions. The Government are committed to the fight against corruption, and since 2010 the United Kingdom has led international efforts to combat corruption through the delivery of the 2017 to 2022 anti-corruption strategy, on which we will continue to build.”