The Liberal Democrats are under pressure to repay a £2.4million donation from a convicted fraudster after the electoral register failed to force the party to check properly where the money came from.Now the Lib Dem excuse such as it is, is that they accepted the cash in 'good faith' which unfortunately for them doesn't explain why they've attacked other parties dodgy donations (in their eyes) which they did with Ukip back in 2007 and an Alan Brown donation. Their other problem is of course that basically they are broke and in grave danger of falling off the electoral wagon due to the fact that their policies are stupid and they are seen as a millstone by many to good government (for given values of good)
A four year inquiry by the Parliamentary Ombudsman found that the Electoral Commission had failed to vet properly the donation from Michael Brown in the months after the party received it in 2005.
Brown gave the LibDems the £2.4million in four tranches between February and May 2005 through his company 5th Avenue Partners. The total sum is one of the biggest ever single donation to a political party.
The Commission has a legal duty to check that donations are legal under a law passed in 2000. In the case of donations from companies, it has to be satisfied that the companies are trading in the UK.
Hence they can't give the cash back as I suspect they've already spent it, some on their disastrous EU electoral campaign. I also suspect that they need what's left if any to fight the coming general election.
So, expect some deal to be cut, and an awful lot of whinging, at least until after the election.
Couldn't happen to a nicer party in my eyes...