Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Appeal over UKIP donation ruling

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The party faced having to repay more than 367,000

The High Court has granted an appeal against a ruling that UKIP should forfeit only a fraction of 367,697 it received in "impermissible donations".

UKIP, which received the money from a donor who was not on the electoral register and a non-UK company, was previously ordered to forfeit 18,481.

The Electoral Commission, which called for the appeal, said it was important parties "follow the rules".

UKIP said it was "looking forward to the issue being resolved".


Retired bookmaker Alan Bown donated 363,697 between December 2004 and January 2006, although he was not on the electoral register at the time.

He did not find out until December 2005 and was reinstated the following February.

A further 4,000 was donated by the firm Nightech, but because it was registered on the Isle of Man it was considered a foreign donation and therefore impermissible.

In August 2007 a district judge ruled the party should pay back 18,481 - but found the breach was accidental.

The Electoral Commission later appealed to the High Court, saying this was necessary for "greater clarity" in the law on donations.

The case will now be re-heard at Westminster Magistrate's Court, where the original proceedings happened.

An Electoral Commission spokesman said: "The judgement has set out considerations that should be taken into account when a court is deciding cases about impermissible donations.

"In particular, these must include Parliament's intention when passing the legislation that the test for permissibility of a donation by an individual to a political party is whether the donor is on the electoral register."

He added: "Political parties are vital to the health of our democracy and they need to raise money to campaign, develop policy and communicate with voters. However, it is also important that they follow the rules on party funding."

A UKIP spokesman said: "We are looking forward to the issue being resolved as soon as possible, so we can move on."

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