It's not been a happy start to 2007 for UKIP. Local party branches are folding (Plymouth is the latest) and now UKIP faces a heavy fine from the Electoral Commission after failing to submit their annual accounts for 2006.
The Political Parties Election and Referendums Act 2000 requires that parties with a gross income or expenditure of £250,000 or less submit an annual statement of accounts to The Electoral Commission by March 31st, while parties with income or expenditure exceeding £250,000 must submit accounts by 7th July.
It's not as if UKIP haven't had enough time to get their finances in order. They couldn't meet the 7th July deadline and were given an extension. As of Friday 5th January the accounts have still not published. Failure to submit accounts within 1 year can result in a £5,000 fine and is a criminal offence under UK electoral law.
Surely it can't be hard for a party with 16,000 members to file its accounts. Are their party staff just amazingly lazy, or is there something we have not been told?