Tuesday, 24 July 2018 12:27


David Mundell’s failure to answer key questions over the issue of dark money has once again highlighted the need for an urgent Electoral Commission crackdown on rule breaking, cheating and dark money, the SNP has said.

Serious questions continued to pile up at the Tories’ door over the past week – as the party failed to provide any clarity on whether donations from the Scottish Unionist Association Trust (SUAT) were funnelled into the 2017 general election campaigns of John Lamont, David Duguid and Douglas Ross, and whether election returns were completed in accordance with the rules. The three Tory MPs have all previously registered donations from SUAT.
Speaking on GMS this morning, David Mundell failed to answer serious questions now facing the Tories over whether or not they have been funded by dark money, including whether or not the money was used for election campaigning and how much campaigns have received over the years – underlining the need for the Electoral Commission to conduct a full investigation into SUAT and its links to the Tories.
SUAT is currently under examination by the Electoral Commission, after an investigation by The Ferret website revealed evidence suggesting SUAT – which has bankrolled the Scottish Tories to the tune of nearly £320,000 – does not meet the criteria of an ‘exempt trust’ and would not be a permissible donor – meaning donations could be unlawful.
Commenting, SNP MP Pete Wishart said:
“David Mundell is one of the most senior Tories in Scotland, yet he is completely unable to provide any satisfactory explanation over whether his party used dark money in last year’s general election to bankroll campaigns in key target seats.
“Transparency over party financing is absolutely essential in any healthy democracy – the public need to have a clear understanding of who helped put their elected representatives into office.
“As each day passes, more and more questions are piling up for the Scottish Tories – it is time for Ruth Davidson to break her silence and answer the questions that her colleagues are refusing to answer. 
“Was dark money used in last year’s election campaign? And if it was, are the Tories satisfied that the election expense returns of John Lamont, David Duguid and Douglas Ross were correctly completed? And have David Mundell’s own election campaigns received money that originated from SUAT over the years?
“The Electoral Commission needs to use its powers to crack down on rule breaking, cheating and dark money. Political campaigns have to be a level playing field to protect democracy – that is why this investigation is so serious and so urgently needed.”
David Mundell was speaking on Good Morning Scotland at 0810. The clip is available in full here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/play/b0bc3h32 
Tory ‘dark money’ trust reveals £2.35m assets - https://theferret.scot/tory-dark-money-trust-2-35m/

Electoral Commission probes £319,000 Tory ‘dark money’ trust - https://theferret.scot/secretive-trust-scottish-tories-dark-money/

Scottish Tory MP 2017 actual election spending 2017 (and 2018 registered) donations received from SUAT % of actual election spending provided by SUAT
John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh, and Selkirk) £9,216.54 £8,812.54 95.6%
David Duguid (Banff and Buchan) £8,023.55 £7,500.00 93.4%
Douglas Ross (Moray) £9,216.54 £7,500.00 83.4%

Source: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4fae14f57a18ee08253ffc251/files/c968144f-49d1-4d68-9047-7eec6633f597/2017_UK_Parliament_candidate_spending_publication_version.xlsx

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