Boris Johnson claims Welsh Government election changes will ‘open floodgates’ of Russian political donations
The Prime Minister has claimed that the Welsh Government’s changes to allow foreigners to vote in Senedd elections will “open gates to a flood” of political donations by Russians.
Individuals registered on a UK electoral register can make personal donations in the UK, and the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020 extends the vote to include qualifying foreign nationals.
In a letter sent to Labour leader Keir Starmer on the Prime Minister’s behalf, the Cabinet Office minister criticised the Welsh Labour Government for changes to the law which he said gave Russian citizens living in Wales and Scotland “the right to make unlimited donations”.
Cabinet Office Minister Lord True was responding to a letter sent by Keir Starmer to Boris Johnson in February raising concerns about the Elections Bill which is working its way through Westminster.
Keir Starmer called on Boris Johnson to “close the loophole allowing the use of shell companies to hide the true source of donations to political parties by foreign actors”.
“These proposals would ensure that donors to UK political parties have a connection to the UK, by mandating that individual and company donors are based here,” he said.
But Boris Johnson replied that changes introduced by Labour in Wales, and the SNP in Scotland, made it easier for foreign nations to donate money in the UK.
In the letter, seen by The Telegraph, the Cabinet Office minister added: “I note that rather than supporting British expats’ rights to vote, the Labour Party want to give full voting rights to all foreigners who live in Britain.
“The Labour Government in Wales has already done this in relation to the franchise for local and devolved elections. The Scottish Government has done the same in Scotland.
“This has given foreign Russian citizens resident in Wales and Scotland the right to make unlimited donations to the Labour Party and the SNP.
“Labour’s Shadow Minister in the Lords has now tabled an amendment to Election Bills that would grant all foreign nationals with leave to enter or remain the right to vote in all local and Parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom – and therefore donate.”
Lord True continued: “It is the Labour Party which would open the gates to a flood of foreign citizen money into British politics.”
Labour responded that it was the Conservatives that had “accepted millions of pounds from Russian-linked donors”.
“Labour put forward proposals that would put a stop to foreign money flooding in from overseas and has called for this bill to be scrapped in it’s entirety,” they said.
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