Friday, July 30, 2010

UKIP's financial problems abate

Yesterday's big news in the eurosceptic world (and, to be fair beyond it as this posting by Iain Dale shows) was that UKIP had won its appeal to the Supreme Court (it feels very odd typing those words in connection with the British legal system). The saga of the Alan Bown donations and the subsequent tortuous legal process was followed on EUReferendum, mostly by the Boss but with an odd addition by me. So I do not have to reiterated any of it.

As the BBC reported it yesterday:
The UK Independence Party does not have to forfeit all of a £367,697 "impermissible donation", the Supreme Court has ruled.

UKIP received the money from a donor who was not on the electoral register.

The party was initially told to forfeit £14,481 but that was increased after the Electoral Commission took the case to the Appeal Court.

UKIP's victory at the Supreme Court lifts the threat of financial ruin that was hanging over the party.

But it represents a defeat for the Electoral Commission which was pressing UKIP to return the full amount donated by retired bookmaker Alan Bown.
The party can, as its Leader, Lord Pearson said, get on with its job of getting Britain out of the EU. Whether the party can achieve anything of the kind remains to be seen. At present that end remains as distant as ever and the possibility of the EU collapsing while British politicians, civil servants and various hangers-on continue to bleat about the need to reform it, is far higher.

The question of costs has been deferred and may well become something of a millstone round UKIP's neck.

An interesting blog run by members of 1 Crown Office Row barristers' chambers gives the news and quotes the press summary from the court. For some bizarre reason the otherwise measured though clearly disapproving piece is headlined: UKIP can keep foreign donation despite breach of party funding rules. Well, no, not exactly. Alan Bown was not a foreign donor; he merely slipped off the electoral register by some curious oversight. Nobody has ever argued that he was not entitled to be on that register. The ladies and gentlemen of the barristers' chambers appear to be confusing two separate cases. (Hint: the name Michael Brown and the party Lib-Dims).

For those who want all the details, here is the press summary of the judgement and here is the judgement in full. I prefer the more common spelling of the word.

1 comment:

  1. "The question of costs has been deferred and may well become something of a millstone round UKIP's neck"

    That's scary. So, the Electoral Commission can nobble a party even if they are "innocent".