EU referendum: Britain’s biggest environmental charities using public cash to call for In vote
By Paul Homewood
From the Telegraph:
Britain’s biggest environmental charities have been accused of using public donations to campaign for staying in the European Union.
The charities watchdog will on Monday issue new guidance on political neutrality after Friends of the Earth, The Wildlife Trusts and Greenpeace all made public comments backing EU membership.
The charities have all insisted that Britain being a member of the EU is vital to protecting Britain’s wildlife – with one suggesting that those backing Brexit want to make the country “the dirty man of Europe”.
"Their public support of the Remain campaign has prompted formal complaints from eurosceptics and has led to the Charity Commission issuing new guidance on political neutrality during the referendum.
The new guidance from the charity watchdog says that charities should only get involved in referendum campaigning in “exceptional” circumstances and stresses that the importance of maintaining independence and neutrality.
Eurosceptic MPs and charity transparency campaigners complained that donations from the public to protect the environment were being used to campaign against Brexit and said donors would be “infuriated” by the findings.
Andrew Bridgen, the Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, has written to the Commission to see whether the charities are “breaking the law”.
“There are strict rules about charities engaging in political campaigning and organisations meant to be dedicated to good causes should not be seeking to circumvent them," he said.
It seems to be that the Charity Commission is a bit behind the times here. The likes of Greenpeace and FOE have long dropped any pretence to be apolitical.
Their support for the EU comes as little surprise anyway, since they receive so much funding from it and are allowed to wield so much influence there.