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Political Parties: Finance

Question for Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

UIN HL5601, tabled on 24 January 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make it a criminal offence for foreign governments to channel funds in excess of a limit of £5,000 into the (1) personal, or (2) business, accounts of individual parliamentarians.

Answered on

7 February 2022

There are rules in place to ensure that only those with a legitimate interest can make political donations. All MPs and members of political parties are regulated donees and can only accept donations of more than £500 made to them in connection with their political activities if it is from a permissible donor. Donations from individuals not on the UK electoral register, such as foreign donors, are not allowed.

In addition, Members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords must provide information on any financial or non-financial benefit which might reasonably be thought by others to influence their actions or words as Members of Parliament.

However, we know that in very rare instances, malign actors disguise their links to foreign Governments. It is, and always will be, an absolute priority to protect the UK against foreign interference. The Government has structures in place to identify foreign interference or any potential threats to democracy and, where necessary, take proportionate action to mitigate them.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech, the Government is bringing forward new Counter State Threats legislation to give the intelligence agencies and law enforcement the tools they need to tackle the diversifying and evolving threats we face.