Progress on donation and spending caps urgent

Liberal Democrat Constitutional Affairs Spokesman, Lord Tyler, led a short debate on party funding in the House of Lords this morning (Thursday).The Committee on Standards in Public Life is presently examining this issue, and will report in the Spring.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Tyler said, “there was a strong degree of consensus across the parties in the previous Parliament on donation caps and regulations on campaign spending between elections.” He pressed the Government to make clear that these two fundamental tenets of reform should be part of the final package.

Lord Tyler also highlighted the particular interest of the House of Lords “in terms of its reputation, because in the past there has been a perceived connection between large donors and membership of the Lords”In response, Liberal Democrat Minister for Justice, Lord McNally, said: “we have all learnt the hard way that to maintain the integrity of our politics it is imperative to get big money and big money donors out of our political system.”

He reassured the Lords that “People in all political parties with experience of this matter have given me the same advice – that is, to deal with this matter early in a Parliament. That is what we intend to do.” The Coalition, he said, was determined to resolve the issue “with a sense of urgency”.

Commenting afterwards, Lord Tyler said,“After more than a decade of dither and delay under Labour, it looks as if we may now make progress.

“But as Tom McNally says, it is vital this happens early in the Parliament, otherwise the party with the most interest in – and the greatest ability to conduct – an expensive election campaign will simply take their ball home, just as happened last time.

“A Coalition Government is a big opportunity to iron some of the most profound partisan creases out of a process which needs to take place on the basis of what will assist political debate in our country, not what will engorge the political self-interest of any one party.

“I will be keeping the pressure on!”

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