End of donor secrecy (flick of a legislative wand and NI ‘dark money’ is a thing of the past)…

So an end to donation secrecy in Northern Ireland. It’s been long awaited, but today James Brokenshire made good his party’s promise in their Northern Irish manifesto… From Hansard:

James Brokenshire: “The hon. Lady highlights the issue of political donations and transparency. We conducted a consultation with all the political parties in Northern Ireland to seek their views first, and that was the reason for the decision we have taken today, reflecting those views and that input and the commitment in my party’s manifesto.”

(And later in response to the) Liberal Democrat member for Orkney‘s point: “The Secretary of State is right when he says that we need greater transparency on political donations, but he must be aware that the House has already expressed its view on that matter. The Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 set the relevant date as being 1 January 2014. Why is he now seeking to change that?”

James Brokenshire: The simple point on that is that it is about compliance with the regulations and seeing that those making donations are able to make those determinations based on the law that is in existence, rather than looking at retrospection. Obviously, there will be further opportunity for the House to debate that issue. However, I think that that is the clearest way of doing it.

Of course, like everything else that the current government is trying to implement, it will be subject to that debate and possible amendment in the chamber (ie, the details, insofar as we have, are still not a done deal).

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty