Tag Archives: christopher kelly

6 essential steps to help clean up the reputation of British politics

We’ve been here before: many times, under many different governments. The latest addition to the lexicon of big money politics scandals is Peter Cruddas’s crude cash-for-access fundraising, with influence on government policy touted for £250,000 a pop. Under Labour, we witnessed the Bernie Ecclestone affair, as well as the cash-for-honours scandal.

To date this shared complicity — the “all parties are as bad as each other” mentality — has served only the interests of senior politicians in justifying the continuing scandal of how big money talks …

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Another big money political scandal: can Lib Dems force Tories & Labour to take it seriously this time?

Let’s remember the words of David Cameron two years ago:

… there is another big issue that we can no longer ignore. It is the next big scandal waiting to happen. It’s an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money. I’m talking about lobbying – and we all know how it works. The lunches, the hospitality, the quiet word in your ear, the ex-ministers and ex-advisors for hire, helping big business find the right way to get its way. In this party, we believe in competition, not cronyism. We believe in market economics, not crony capitalism. So we must be the party that sorts all this out.

Now let’s fast-forward to the words of the Tories’ leading fundraiser (until last night):

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Opinion: Party funding plans to be kicked into the long grass – but what’s the alternative?

Proposals from the Committee on Standards in Public Life for state funding of political parties were kicked into the long grass by all three major players before the report was even officially published.

Reaction from various interested sources and commentators has been almost unanimously opposed to the idea with some, notably the Taxpayers’ Alliance, outraged by the proposals.

The key thrust of most of the arguments against the plan is simply that the time is wrong to burden tax payers with state funding of politic parties at a time when so many budgets are being cut, jobs being lost and deficits being …

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Opinion: What right do politicians have to decide rules on their own jobs?

The party funding report by the Committee for Standards in Public Life was barely off the printers and politicians from all parties were saying they were broadly supportive, but more importantly could not back the main suggestion that state funding of political parties be increased.

Party funding will always be tough to square given the reliance of Labour on union money and the Conservatives (and increasingly the Liberal Democrats) on major donors. State funding is inevitable to reduce sleaze, real or inferred, and trust in politics. It only costs  the equivalent of a couple of first class stamps a year, …

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Clegg and Farron on party funding: yes to action now, no to more taxpayer contributions

Sir Christopher Kelly’s report for Parliament’s Committee on Standards in Public Life was published yesterday, Political Party Finance – Ending the big donor culture: you can read it and the evidence considered by the inquiry here.

Here are the main proposals:

  • A cap of £10,000-a-year on donations from any individual or organisation — including trade unions — to any political party with at least two MPs or two representatives at the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies. Trade union affiliation fees could be counted as a collection of small individual payments, but only if members are required to
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    MPs expenses: the details that you’ve probably missed

    The headline recommendations from Sir Christopher Kelley’s review of MPs’ expenses have been widely covered. Despite this coverage, there is a series of detailed proposals which have been largely overlooked – including one which may yet put the leaders of political parties on the spot over cases involving their own MPs which they thought they had dealt with.

    You can read the full report here, but these are the details I have in mind:

    Travel: “MPs should expect to be treated in the same way as their constituents in this regard, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary. That

    Posted in Election law and Parliament | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

    LibLink … Norman Baker: Devil in detail of MP expenses rules

    Over at The Guardian, the Lib Dems’ rottweiler-without-portfolio Norman Baker – the MP who was campaigning to clean up Parliamentary expenses long before it was fashionable – argues that Christopher Kelly’s report may help to restore parliament’s reputation, but the solutions it contains must be workable. Here’s an excerpt:

    Kelly’s report is an important document and perhaps the most significant staging post in the long and painful journey towards restoring the reputation of parliament. Given the terrible exposures of their abuse of the expenses system, MPs have forfeited the right to decide their own pay and conditions. It was never a

    Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 1 Comment

    Speaker Bercow tells Nick: no inquiry into MPs’ ‘flipping’ or CGT evasion

    Two weeks ago, Nick Clegg wrote to Sir Thomas Legg – in the wake of Sir Thomas’s decision to recommend MPs repay public money if they had been found to have overclaimed expenses for cleaning and gardening – asking that he examine the most serious allegations levelled against MPs:

    … when your inquiry was first announced, I think most people expected the worst offences such as flipping to come under the toughest scrutiny. The letters sent this week, however, appear not to focus on these offences. If your review is to be seen as credible it must expose every single one of those MPs who claimed for a non-existent mortgage or ‘flipped’ their second homes purely for personal gain, some of whom then went on to avoid Capital Gains Tax. Some of these MPs appear to have made tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds in profits with the help of taxpayer subsidies. They must be exposed and these illegitimate profits returned.

    Today Nick got his answer, but not the one he – or the public – would have hoped for. Sir Thomas passed Nick’s letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, to reply. Here’s what he said (with a big hat-tip to The Times’s Sam Coates):

    Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

    Recent Comments

    • Nick Baird
      @Jenny Barnes & @Mary Fulton - it is certainly the case that the UK has tried to cling to global power status, and as a result has seen core defensive capab...
    • Mary Fulton
      I think there is a liberal case to be made for genuine defence spending but not for spending on offensive capability. In other words, the UK does not need armed...
    • Mick Taylor
      There is never a case for more arms spending.If we spent a quarter the amount we spend on arms promoting peace and getting would be combatants round a table tal...
    • Jenny Barnes
      It's probably time we were less aligned with the US. Their interests are not necessarily ours. Not suggesting we should leave NATO, just be a bit more pragm...
    • David Evans
      Sadly Kyle, I think your post is based on inexperience rather than any objective analysis of the situation. While in most general elections there are a few ou...