Andrew Bridgen, the Conservative MP, has asked the Metropolitan Police force to investigate new revelations that a member of Nick Clegg’s inner circle has been accepting donations that are possibly illegal. The allegations arose after an undercover officer, posing as a wealthy businessman from India, was told by the party’s former chief fundraiser, Ibrahim Taguri, that if he wanted to donate money to the Lib Dems, he could do it via a cousin.
The claims go on to state that Taguri also advised the businessman on how he could donate over £7500 to the party in a way that would keep the transaction a secret from the public, by backdating a cheque. The Lib Dems have responded to these allegations by denying that they accepted any illegal transactions, and have referred the matter to the Electoral Commission to investigate, as the investigation should rightfully be carried out by an objective third party.
The Electoral Commission has strict rules regarding donations, stating that any donations above the sum of £7500 to a political party needs to be declared, as do any multiple donations coming from one individual. Senior politicians have recently been under increasing pressure to change the rules regarding donations. Sir Christopher Kelly, who reviewed the system in 2011 and also chaired the Independent Committee on Standards in Public Life, has said that the time has come to implement some of the changes that have been previously discussed. These changes include decreasing the threshold when it comes to declaring donations, taking it from £7500 down to £5000. They will also be looking at putting an annual cap on political party donations, at a total of £10,000.