Clegg: fewer seats would allow extra funding for parties

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Indy Politics

The number of MPs would be cut by 150 to pay for extra state funding of political parties under plans outlined by Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader.

Mr Clegg called for the Government's £200m advertising budget to be slashed as part of plans to "transform" politics. He said voters should be able to tick a box on their general election ballot paper to channel £3 to the party of their choice.

He said in a speech in Sheffield last night that bulk donations to parties should be capped at £25,000, insisting "the relationship between money and politics is rotten and it is hollowing out our whole political system". He called for action to shift political influence away from big-money donors to ordinary individuals.

Mr Clegg said the political system needed to be "reconstructed from the bottom to the top" and called for a programme of electoral reform to stop a few thousand voters deciding the outcome of general elections. He lambasted what he called the "elitist, establishment" view of the two main political parties.

He said: "Much of the debate in Westminster is complacent, based on the belief that people aren't voting because they're comfortable with the status quo... So instead of changing politics, the two establishment parties have pulled up the drawbridge and fallen back into the comfortable arms of their vested interests."