Referendum donor details ‘should’ be made public

Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins. Picture: PA
Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins. Picture: PA
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DETAILS of the donations made to the two main referendum campaign groups should be made public as soon as possible, accordin the chief executive of the Yes Scotland campaign group.

• Yes Scotland to publish donation details at same time as Better Together campaign

The pro-independence Yes Scotland and its rival Better Together, which wants Scotland to remain in the UK, have yet to publish donations they have received.

Blair Jenkins, chief executive of Yes Scotland, insisted the organisation would be “very open and transparent” about the funds it received.

“I think that’s a very important part of the process,” he told BBC Radio Scotland.

Mr Jenkins, speaking on the Good Morning Scotland programme, said the Yes Scotland advisory board agreed this week to “publish details of our donations at the same time that the No campaign publish details of their donations received”.

He said: “My job will be to contact the No campaign, to say to them we should agree a date jointly where both campaigns will publish the details of donations received, and that should be as soon as possible.

“And we’re perfectly relaxed about that. We’ve not received any donations that would be either of surprise or concern to anyone.”

Mr Jenkins also attacked the Better Together campaign for accepting cash from “Tory millionaires in the south of England”.

Yes Scotland says on its website that it cannot accept a donation of more than £500 from people not on the electoral register in Scotland.

Meanwhile Better Together says it will check that anyone who gives a donation of over £500 is not from overseas.

Overseas donors

Mr Jenkins said: “We’ve made it very clear we will only accept donations above £500 from people on the electoral register in Scotland. The No campaign will take money from anywhere in the UK.

“So for instance, their position, as I understand, is my daughter who has been working overseas and is not on the electoral register should not be allowed to contribute £10 to the Yes campaign but Tory millionaires in the south of England, say for instance David Cameron or George Osborne, can put in as much money as they like for the No campaign.

“I don’t think that policy stands up to any kind of reasonable scrutiny.”

A spokesman for Better Together said: “It’s only people like the separatists who consider our friends, families and workmates from across the UK as foreigners. They’ll take money from their American fundraisers but they think that the 800,000 Scots living in the rest of the UK should be cut out of the debate.

“Are they honestly trying to tell us that people like Sir Alex Ferguson should not be allowed to contribute to the debate on their country’s future?”

On publishing details of the donations, the spokesman said: “We have made a commitment to release details of our donors in the first quarter of this year. That continues to be our plan.”