Electoral Commission responds to misreporting of donation figures

Welcome news from the Electoral Commission who have agreed to make their reports of donations to parties clearer. As I blogged last week, the figures for donations to the parties during the first stage of the general election have been widely misreported. Media reports presented the figures as if they were the totals of actual donations received, but in fact:

The numbers are misleading for two reasons:

  • They are (only) for donations to parties. As I’ve previously pointed out, donations made direct to candidates during the election campaign period are excluded from these figures.
  • The figures only include donations which are large enough to have to be reported to the Electoral Commission. Small donations are excluded from the figures.

In response to a query from me about whether the Electoral Commission would take any steps to try to raise the accuracy of future reports, the Commission has said:

“When we publish these figures we make clear what parties are required to report to us. For example, in the publication of the recent weekly donations and borrowing figures, we made clear that the figures relate only to donations of more than £7,500 to a central party.You can view the text of our press release here.

“In order to make this information even clearer to journalists, and more importantly to voters, we are happy to add a note to the release clarifying that it does not include donations to candidates.

“Further information about the rules, including what candidates need to report after the election, is contained in our media handbook.”

That’s a good response. Let’s hope the media also responds.

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This entry was posted in Election law.

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