Yet again, he's missed the point. Must be his age.
I see no reason to question the Liberal Democrat's good faith over this - I don't believe that any party would have taken the money if they had known quite how dodgy Michael Brown was. It has emerged that the LDs knew that Brown had been bouncing cheques in Florida a few years back, which perhaps casts a little doubt on their judgement, but I doubt many parties would turn away a gift of that size in the run up to an election, especially from someone who had a long association with the party.
So, the Liberal Democrat hierarchy are clear of any offence relating to the PPERA 2001 - the Electoral Commission have said as much.
But that doesn't matter. As the Electoral Commission spokesperson said last week:
'It is not clear to the commission that 5th Avenue Partners Ltd was carrying on business in the UK at the time the donations were made. If not, then the donations were impermissible.'If the donations were impermissible, then they must be returned. Ming doesn't seem to have twigged that the Commission are being polite - they have left an open door for the Lib Dems to make amends by voluntarily handing over the cash. How embarrassing will it be when the party has to troop into the local magistrates' court to witness the Commission applying for an order to obtain the money?
In Scotland, the LibDems are already nervous that their share of the repayment costs could prove fatal to their Holyrood campaign next year - the donation seems to have pumped over £250,000 into Scotland.