Watchdog 'concerned' at late reporting of donations

All three of the major political parties reported donations or loans late in the months before the General Election, it was revealed today.

Democracy watchdog the Electoral Commission voiced "concern" over the failure of the Liberal Democrats to report 73 donations worth a total of £222,514 on time.

And it revealed that the Conservatives reported two credit facilities worth £150,000 late, while Labour missed deadlines for notifying the Commission of three donations totalling £5,500.

Electoral Commission chief executive Peter Wardle said: "The Conservative Party reported two large credit facilities late, and we have already met them to discuss this. They have assured us that they have put in place systems to ensure that this doesn't happen again, and we will continue to monitor this closely.

"The Labour Party and Liberal Democrats have both reported individual donations to party accounting units late.

"We understand that there are pressures on the volunteers who often staff parties at a local level, but the Liberal Democrats reported a large number and value of donations to local accounting units in this quarter that should have been reported previously.

"This is of concern and we have been in contact with the party to establish the reasons for this, and to make sure that they make every effort to ensure their compliance level improves in the future."

Details of the late reports were revealed as the Commission put figures for donations and loans for the first three months of 2010 on to its searchable internet database. The figures were first published ahead of schedule on May 4 in order to be publicly available before the election.