Labour for Independence fined for breaking spending rules

The first conference of Labour for Independence in 2012.  Picture: Ian Rutherford
The first conference of Labour for Independence in 2012. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A GROUP of Labour supporters that was launched to back independence has been fined £1,500 by the Electoral Commission for failing to provide a report of its spending during last year’s referendum.

Under the rules governing last year’s vote, all participants registered with the commission were required to deliver a report on spending. However, Labour for Independence (Lfi), a group which claimed to have significant support in the party, were the only campaigners that failed to provide any report of their expenditure.

This shows the obstacles faced by campaigners

Bob Thomson

The commission said the group was guilty of a “serious breach of the rules” and accused it of an “apparent lack of commitment to compliance” with the rules governing campaigning in the referendum.

No campaigners had attacked Lfi as an SNP-front despite the organisation’s claim that it had significant support within Labour’s ranks.

The founder of Lfi Allan Grogan joined the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) in the aftermath of the No vote.

The Electoral Commission cooperated with the Crown Office and procurator fiscal before taking action.

A statement from the commission said: “We have fined Labour for Independence, a campaigner in the Scottish independence referendum, £1,500 for failing to provide a report of its spending.

“Under the Scottish Independence Referendum Act, all permitted participants registered with the commission were required to deliver a report of spending. Labour for Independence was the only campaigner that failed to provide any report.

“The commission considered that this was a serious breach of the rules, as without the report, the public has no information as to what donations Labour for Independence accepted, how much it spent, or how it spent that money.”

Former Scottish Labour chairman Bob Thomson, an LfI supporter, criticised the fine: “This shows the obstacles and complexities faced by ordinary campaigners.”

SEE ALSO: Pat Kane: Labour for Independence isn’t a mad idea