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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August, 2003, 20:01 GMT 21:01 UK
Connery resumes SNP donations
Sean Connery
Mr Connery fears media intrusion
Sir Sean Connery is to resume his donations to the Scottish National Party after being ineligible for two years.

The Hollywood film star was forced to stop contributing to the Nationalists in 2001 when new rules were introduced barring expatriates from giving money to political parties.

For six years from 1995, the former James Bond star contributed about 5,000 a month to the SNP.

The money was interest on 750,000 that Sir Sean had put into an offshore bank account.

Registered to vote

Then the government changed the rules on political donations, requiring exiles who want to fund British parties to have a British address and be registered to vote.

Sir Sean has spent the last year filming in London and is now allowed back on the electoral register as an overseas voter.

The star met the SNP leader John Swinney on Tuesday to discuss suitable projects for his support.

But sources in the party say no sums of money have been agreed upon.

A statement from Sir Sean said: "Now that I have beaten Labour's attempts to prevent me from supporting the party of my choice, I have discussed with John Swinney future suitable projects to support."

Sir Sean is supportive of our financial plans and recognises the importance of regular donations over one-off big ones.
Peter Murrell
SNP chief executive

SNP chief executive Peter Murrell said: "Sir Sean was an enormous help to us this year despite his almost impossible work schedule.

"He recorded both radio and television messages for us, participated in newspapers interviews and fronted our drive to win over the business community on fiscal independence.

"We are incredibly grateful for the support he gave us."

Mr Murrell added: "Sir Sean is supportive of our financial plans and recognises the importance of regular donations over one-off big ones.

Holyrood endorsement

"The SNP has been hugely successful in getting hundreds of people to give us small donations, that's how we fund our campaigns and fight the big-spending London parties against all the odds.

"Sir Sean is not only keen to play his part but help us widen and deepen our donor base further. We couldn't ask for any more."

  • Meanwhile, Sir Sean has said he is looking forward to the opening of the new Scottish Parliament building.

    Speaking after he and his wife Micheline were given a tour of the site at Holyrood by Presiding Officer George Reid, Sir Sean said he cannot wait for it to be finished.

    Sir Sean said: "The ceilings, for example, have this hieroglyphics look, and when you look closer you get a different light, you get a different angle.

    "It's great for Scotland, it's great that we have this."

    He also said he planned to ensure he was present for the controversial project's official opening next year.

    Connery's independence hope
    09 Mar 03  |  Scotland
    Connery details SNP funding
    07 Mar 03  |  Scotland
    Sir Sean lays bare his tax details
    06 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
    Connery in party funding row
    17 Dec 00  |  Scotland
    Connery sues over failed film deal
    11 Oct 02  |  Entertainment
    Sir Sean 'gets better with age'
    20 Sep 01  |  Scotland
    Connery pledges tourism support
    01 Apr 01  |  Entertainment

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