Home > Party funding > Clegg accuses parties of colluding on party funding reform

Clegg accuses parties of colluding on party funding reform

At PMQs, Nick Clegg accused the two main parties of colluding to prevent reform of the political system – in particular referring to the breakdown of talks with Sir Hayden Phillips to reform party funding.

Given that the major parties rely on different sources of funds, any reform of party funding will have high political stakes. For example, capping union donations would have greater impact on Labour and give a strategic advantage to the Conservatives. If you leave it to the leading parties to hammer out the rules behind closed doors, it is unsurprising that the talks will focus on strategic concerns and result in deadlock.

In any event, the reforms being proposed in the talks were fairly limited. The donation cap that was considered by Sir Hayden Phillips of £50k would have done little to make the political process fairer or more equal, and donations of that amount could still influence politicians. There was no consideration of bigger changes, like a ban on companies making donations out of their general funds (as is the case with unions in the UK and companies in the USA). The Phillips’ proposals would have been an important step, but would have been a partial measure leaving many gaps.

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