A quiet revolution in political party finance

As the Financial Times reported earlier this week (expanding on a point Stephen has made previously):

The [Liberal Democrats] party said it had raised more than Labour from individual and corporate donors in five out of the past six quarters. In the second quarter of this year the party attracted £850,000 against £300,000 for Labour, which is now majority financed by money from the big unions.

As far as I’m aware, this is the first time the Liberal Democrats have been raising more money from non-trade union sources than the Labour Party, which is a major change from the previous well-established and large Labour lead in such funding.

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  • toryboysnevergrowup 16th Sep '11 - 1:10pm

    Not as quite as the revolution that is being proposed for voter registration by Nick Clegg.

    First we have the equalisation of constituency sizes based on the number of registered voters rather than those who are entitled to register and are meant to be represented by the MP. And at the time we were told that efforts would be made to reduce the number of unregistered voters from the its disgraceful current level of c3m.

    Now we have the proposals to rush through the switch to individual voter registration – which the independent Electoral Commission believes will lead to even more unregistered voters.

    And which party loses out the most as a result of under registration of voters – well there is no surprise there.

    When are the democrats in the LibDems going to rumble their leader??

    Also call me cynical but isn’t LibDemVoice one of the the first places to discuss changes to electoral arrnagements, usually with an anorak driven intensity. Is a certain amount of shame delaying the process – one hopes so.

  • As has been extensively discussed, there is no change involved in basing constituencies on registered voters. That’s how it’s always been done.

    Could you please link to the Electoral Commissions concerns about individual registration. If true, I’d be interested to read it. However, given the misleading nature of the first part of your post, I’m having trouble taking the rest of it at face value.

  • Foregone Conclusion 16th Sep '11 - 2:43pm

    The Electoral Commission response is here:


    Nope, the Electoral Commission seem quite happy with the change, and have been pushing for it for a while.

  • Chris Riley 16th Sep '11 - 2:57pm

    @Foregone Conclusion

    Fascinating. The Electoral Commission responded to an issue 3 months before it came to light.

    Here is the Electoral Commission’ evidence to the consultation on the plans being undertaken. Their ACTUAL response will be in the autumn. As the Guardian reports, and the evidence shows, the EC are in favour of the change *in principle* but are very concerned that it be implemented properly, and it is foolish to just assume everything is ok


  • Chris Riley 16th Sep '11 - 3:01pm

    Because I know people are lazy and will misinterpret things if it is to their advantage to do so, here is the Electoral Commission’s line from the evidence yesterday

    53. The Electoral Commission is clear that introducing IER is the right thing to do, because of the need:

    · to improve the security of the system, making it less vulnerable to fraud

    · to recognise people’s personal responsibility for this important stake in our democracy

    · for a system that people recognise as up-to-date, not rooted in Victorian ideas about households and ‘heads of household’

    54. But this means that:

    · We must ensure that IER really does ensure much greater accuracy-any new system must deal especially with the issue of home-movers, which means dealing with duplicate entries.

    · We must not lose the strengths of the current system in terms of completeness-the current annual canvass approach produces high levels of completeness.

    · We must be especially careful to design a transition process that ensures that eligible people who are currently on the register, but only because someone else has entered them, do not drop off the register simply because they are not used to, or have problems with, the registration process.

    · We agree with the Government that we should take opportunities to find new ways to reach people who are not currently on the register, and give them the chance to register.

    · We must reassure people that the personal data they will be asked to provide, will be kept safe.

    55. Moving to IER is absolutely right. But we have stressed all along that this is a significant change to the system of registering to vote. It carries significant risks and so it needs to be carefully managed.

  • Chris Riley 16th Sep '11 - 3:05pm

    Just as a final point, the problem is the missing 2014 canvas, which Nick Clegg wants to abolish. The EC are pretty clear that this will reduce the completeness of the register, and it is especially unfortunate that it will be the one for the next General Election.

    I am sure Lib Dems do not want to hand ammunition to the Opposition that your leader is knowingly undertaking measures likely to disenfranchise potential Opposition supporters against Electoral Commission advice, and so I look forward to Lib Dem activists campaigning for the 2014 canvas to take place.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 16th Sep '11 - 5:27pm


    I never said that I didn’t support Individual voter registration (and no I din’t miss your posts) – mine and the Electoral Commission’s concerns are about the plans for its implementation. Whether you are concerned about it or not we have a real problem about voter registration (and Oranjepan there is pretty convincing evidence that if registration increases then so does voter turnout) and all these moves seem to be doing precious little to address the problem.and will actually make the registration problem worse. The c3m unregistered voters we have now is disgraceful and their number needs to be increased and not reduced – and any true democrats will I’m sure agree with me.

    Given the extent of existing commercial databases and with proper use of the existing electoral role – my guess is that reregistration could actaully be used as an opportunity to increase voter registration – but all the signs are that this is not a priority. How about a commitment not to switch over to individual household registration until it produces an electoral register that gets the number of unregistered voters down to a significantly lower level than at present????

    My pragmatic view is that I support whatever form of registration gets the most people entitled to vote on the register – I still think that this should be one of individual registration, but it appears that Clegg is unable to make individual registration work in such a manner.


    I was not being misleading in the first part of my post – if you read the discussion here about the equalisation of constituency sizes at the time you will see that my point was raised at the time (yes constituencies were based on the number of registered voters but there unequal size did compensate, somewhat roughly for the effect of under registration) – and in response many here pointed to Clegg’s supposed efforts to improve voter registration.

    Chris Riley

    Rather than doing the 2014 canvas because it doesn’t hand ammunition to your political rivals (I suspect we already have more than enough on your party anyway) – why not just do it because it is the right thing to do.

  • Kirsten de Keyser 16th Sep '11 - 5:40pm

    Turnout in Denmark’s general election yesterday was 87.7%.
    How did they do that?

  • Back to the actual topic of the post, the real issue here is presumably we are getting more donations because we are now in governments, I suspect that some of these donors may well be expecting something in return for their donations. We need to get reform of party funding through to reduce the influence that people and businesses can (or at least attempt) to buy with donations.

  • Richard Huzzey 17th Sep '11 - 4:22pm

    Peter1919 is quite right. Lib Dems should see this as good news only because it means party funding can be reformed from a position of self-sacrifice, not self-pity.

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