Wednesday 12 June 2019 3:18 pm

The Brexit Party 'at risk' of accepting illegal donations, watchdog finds

The Electoral Commission has ruled that the The Brexit Party is at high risk of collecting illegal donations through its online platform.

The commission visited Nigel Farage’s party’s office last month to review its online donation system.

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It found that the platform, which receives funds through Paypal, was vulnerable to a “high and ongoing risk of receiving and accepting impermissable donations”.

The regulator issued the Brexit Party with recommendations to mitigate the risk and “help it comply with its legal requirements” to make sure all donations worth more than £500 originate from the UK.

Farage’s party has so far been forced to return a donation of £1,000 as it could not determine whether it was from a legal source.

Electoral Commission director of regulation Louise Edwards said: “It is legitimate for any political party or campaigner to adopt a fundraising strategy that focuses on raising small sums.

“Our visit to The Brexit Party has enabled us to make specific recommendations to the party that will support it to meet its legal responsibilities when it comes to receiving funds.

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“Should it fail to meet those responsibilities, this will be considered in line with our enforcement policy.”

Recommendations to all parties include checking every payment received online to make sure they have identified all donations, and requesting as much information from donors as possible.