The House of Lords will carefully consider and vote on controversial aspects of the Government’s Elections Bill this month. You report (31 March) that British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years can now vote in the general election. The question of their ability to give unlimited amounts of money to political parties is much more controversial.
In 2009, Parliament decided that UK citizens residing overseas for tax purposes should not be able to donate to political parties. But since then the government has argued that it is administratively too difficult to ban such donations and that someone’s tax status is confidential. This means that a billionaire tax exile who remains a British citizen will be able to donate millions for the rest of their life. In the absence of a general cap on the amount of donations to political parties, it is not fair that such non-doms can have a massive influence on our elections.
The government has also announced plans to raise the legal limit that parties can spend in the year before a general election to 80%. The House of Lords has a duty to try to prevent our democracy from becoming the best money can buy.
Liberal Democrat, House of Lords