There is an urgent need for party funding reform in this country. Every party has suffered problems with donations. We need to draw a line. I think there should be a cap on individual political donations.
This must apply equally to trade unions as well as private citizens. The hard pressed taxpayer should not be forced to cough up for political campaigning. Today I asked Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude about this.
Does the Minister agree that for the last two decades all major parties in this House have been affected by donor scandals of one sort or another, and that, rather than more hammering and rock throwing, we should in the next Session get on and legislate to bring in a donor cap, without state funding for political parties?
I would be delighted if we were to do that. It is a long-established convention that reform of party funding proceeds by way of consensus. That was definitely the view that Mr Straw, my hon. Friend Mr Heath and I took when we conducted previous discussions on this topic. We need to have another try at that. It is unsatisfactory for the party in power to legislate unilaterally to change the party funding system. If at all possible, we must proceed by consensus, as before, so we will strain every fibre to try to achieve consensus.
It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term.
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