Time to end ‘influence auction’ – Tyler

In light of today’s revelations about a £1.5m share donation to Labour, Constitutional Affairs Spokesperson Lord Tyler has called for an end to the ‘influence auction’ in politics.

Challenging Labour to co-operate with party funding reform, he said, in the Lords, “All three parties committed themselves to taking big money out of politics. Can he confirm that the Government’s objective is to have maximum transparency and simplicity so that our fellow citizens can see precisely where influence and access are being bought?”

Lord Tyler published a Draft Bill at a cross-party seminar in May, showing how a cap on donations to political parties could be introduced over ten years, and how the expenditure of non-party political organisations could be controlled, where they attempt to influence elections. The Bill is subject to public consultation at www.fundingukdemocracy.org

Speaking after exchanges in the Lords today, Lord Tyler added,

“In the case of today’s huge value donation, it must surely be significant that Mr Mills is a leading figure in the “Labour for a Referendum” campaign, committed to badgering Ed Miliband into accepting a public vote on EU membership.

“If large donations like these are not about trying to influence the Leader of the Labour Party, this is a very dubious investment.

“Whatever his decision about how to handle the thorny issue of Europe, Ed Miliband’s measure of what is right should be what is good for the country, not what pleases wealthy backers.

“All political leaders must know that the perception of an auction of influence is unhealthy, which is why promises to take the ‘big money out of politics’ were included in all three manifestos in 2010.

“The Coalition should now fulfil those promises, reflected in the Coalition Agreement, by agreeing a broad package of reforms along the lines in the draft Bill that my colleagues and I published last month.”

ENDS

Note to Editors:
Today’s exchanges took place during Questions in the Lords, at approximately 11.30am.

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