One of the many questions Mr Clegg would not answer

David Cameron asked Mr Clegg in the debate whether the Lib Dems had paid back their £2.4 million donation from Michael Brown or not. There was no answer from Mr Clegg.

I have been asked to explain the background to this by some voters. To pay for their relatively successful last General Election campaign the Lib Dems accepted £2.4million from 5th Avenue Partners, a company they believed to be trading in the UK. It subsequently emerged that 5th Avenue Partners was part of a complex operation run by Michael Brown, the donor and now a convicted criminal, and was not a UK investment company in the way they thought.

If Mr Clegg wishes to pose as the white knight out to clean up British politics he should start by repaying this dubious money the Lib Dems took. The people who lost out through Michael Brown’s activities would like their money back.

I happen to think UK politicis would be better if we had stricter controls on the amount of money any party can spend on its national campaign. There are problems with Labour raising so much from a handful of Trade Unions, and the Conservatives raising so much from rich individiuals. Neither main party has such an embarrassing donation to account for as the Lib Dems. People in glass houses should be careful before trying to throw stones.

Promoted by Christine Hill on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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4 Comments

  1. Antisthenes
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Cameron's reminder of the Lib-Dem's party donation scandal does not have appeared to have done them any harm if the recent opinion polls are to be believed. This is because of the voters perception that the parties are equally as bad as each other but on balance the Lib-Dems are the least evil as they came out the expenses scandal best. Pursuing this attack is unlikely to have much affect.

    However what is most disturbing is that up to now the Conservatives had only Stalin to contend with but now Trotsky has become a force to be reckoned with and that completely changes the political landscape. If this new found popularity continues up to the election then Stalin will remain PM and Trotsky will be part of the politburo with his sidekick St. Vince. Now one does not have to be a genius to work out the consequences of that economically in that it would be a total disaster. The only upside is some of the worst excess of Starlin's social engineering would be reined back a little.

    However, Stalin now has a dilemma he does not want to share power with Trotsky so he will want to engineer a Mexico moment and will now have to go on the attack more against Trotsky than Cameron, so played carefully could see the destruction of both. The next few weeks are going to be most interesting as the election process is entering a situation that has never been encountered before a three horse race.

  2. Mark
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    The main key to political funding is transparency. The record kept by the Electoral Commission is a great improvement on what went before, but clearly could be improved. All large donations should be prominently publicised on party websites. Trying to place caps on donations can be difficult, because money has a way of finding routes to its intended destination much as water finds its level. What we don't want is more state funding of a narrow selection of parties.

    Indeed, perhaps the major broadcast channels should be banned from carrying election broadcasts and debates (and should be subject to very rigorous anti-bias checks on the news and current affairs output during an election). These days we have the web where parties can promote themselves unsullied by the bias of a particular interviewer. It also provides a forum for intelligent criticism of other parties' policies. Costs are low. The key is to drive traffic to the web.

  3. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I would be happy if the Conservatives raised more of their money from small donations and less from big business. However, policy is the key.

    Many large companies corrupt themselves when they become more interested in size and power than in profit. The Kraft takeover of Cadbury is likely to destroy capital at a tremendous rate, and the first two installments have being paying too high for the Cadbury shares and awarding the Kraft CEO a $10 million bonus for her lead role in the takeover. Don't take my word for it; read Warren Buffet's opinion.

    The magic words are:
    NO COMPANY IS TOO BIG TO FAIL.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Well, it's the message isn't it.
    The Old Parties are OUT. Sod the lot, as one party so brilliantly put it.
    We need a NEW party.
    How about New Labour?
    Hey…..wait a minute…..
    How about New Liberals?
    Erm…..Lloyd George was the last person to prostitute the House of Lords…..
    And he was…..?
    What about George I (1714-1727)? His government was…….? Erm….

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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