ISSUE DATE: Friday, March 15th 2019
The Libertarian Party have written to the Electoral Commission to query the electoral status of the “Independent Group” in Parliament.
The group have registered as a limited company, but not yet as a political party. Libertarian members were dubious about the use of the “Independent” naming, when the group clearly is not.
Libertarian Treasurer, Brian Vickery, wrote “I have been asked by a member of the party to seek your guidance on the status of the Independent Group.
“To a large extent they act like and are treated as a political party. The way they have set themselves up using an Ltd company would appear as a possible loophole to avoid scrutiny of their funding by the electoral commission.
“I understand that The Independent Group intends in the future to form a party.
“In the meantime are their sources of funding available to the Electoral Commission and will they be publicly available in a similar way to that of political parties?
The Electoral Commission replied promptly. Freya Flavin, Press Officer, replied “We have had a further meeting with the Independent Group to discuss its rules and the obligations on the group individually and collectively to report donations.
“At this time, the Independent Group is an unincorporated association as defined in electoral law.
“An unincorporated association does not need to register with the Commission unless it makes political contributions of more than £25,000 in a calendar year.
“If an unincorporated association is required to register, it will then need to tell us about reportable gifts received, which we publish.
The Members of Parliament that are part of this group will continue to be required to report to the House of Commons any donations above £1,500 that they receive in their capacity as a ‘regulated donee’.
We will continue to liaise with the group and ensure the rules are fully applied.”