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The Government's proposed ban on foreign fund-raising by political parties could prove a significant blow to Sinn Fein, the Labour MP Harry Barnes suggested last night, writes Anthony Bevins.

Mr Barnes, a member of the Commons select committee on Northern Ireland, reports that Sinn Fein have raised pounds 250,000 of their recent fund-raising visit to the US should concern all British and Irish democrats. Donors did not live in the UK or Ireland "and neither suffer nor enjoy the consequences of Sinn Fein's enhanced abilities to promote their message".