Press Statement by Electoral Commission
BNP Statement of Accounts
14 Apr 2010
In January 2010 the Electoral Commission, the independent party finance watchdog, began a case review following concerns raised in the independent auditor’s opinion about the adequacy of the 2008 statement of accounts of the British National Party.
The case has now become an investigation. However, it is important to note - particularly during an election period - that no conclusion has been reached and therefore no assumption should be made as to whether a breach of the rules has occurred.
For further information please contact
Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704
Out of office hours on 07789 920414
Notes to editors
1.The Electoral Commission is an independent body established by the Political Parties Elections and Referendums (PPERA) Act 2000.
2.Section 41 of PPERA requires that “the treasurer of a registered party must ensure that accounting records are kept with respect to the party which are sufficient to show and explain the party’s transactions.”
3.The BNP statement of accounts for the central party and for the party’s accounting unit for 2008 are available on the Commission website: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/database-of-registers/statements-of-account
4.Concerns were raised by the independent auditor in relation to the 2008 statement of accounts of the BNP. In January we wrote to the BNP requesting further information and began a case review. That case review has now become an investigation.
5.It is our usual policy to issue a press release at this point. A full copy of our policy on handling allegations and disclosing information relating to them can be found on the Commission website: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/enforcement/making-allegations
The Electoral Commission states on its web site, www.electoralcommission.org.uk, that it aims to conclude ninety per cent of its investigations within a six month period. Since its investigation, (as distinct from its "case review"), of the British National Party, began on 14 April 2010, this means that its investigation of the BNP has already been so protracted that it has missed the Commission's six month target.
On 1 December, next week, the 'beefed-up' enforcement powers granted to the Electoral Commission under the Political Parties and Elections Act, 2009, come into effect. These will empower the Commission to compel individuals to provide material evidence, to attend interviews, and to answer questions, and are similar to the powers enjoyed by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration ("the Ombudsman"), for example.
Certainly, Messrs Griffin, Dowson, Hannam, and Jefferson, have questions to answer.