Lib Dems attack Labour and Tories on expenses

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Nick Clegg will today denounce Gordon Brown and David Cameron for championing "corrupt politics" by refusing to support sweeping political change after the expenses scandal.

The Liberal Democrat leader, who is being wooed by the two biggest parties in the event of a hung parliament, will lambast them for blocking attempts at reform. In a BBC interview, he will say: "A vote for Labour or the Conservatives is a vote for corrupt politics.

"A vote for Labour or the Conservatives is a vote for tax dodgers in politics, a vote for letting guilty MPs off the hook, a vote for an unfair voting system. And worse than that – despite all the hot air on wanting to clean up politics, they have blocked any serious attempt of reform."

Mr Clegg will accuse the Government of retreating on promises to overhaul the voting system and the make-up of the House of Lords and of failing to clean up party funding. He will claim that Mr Cameron has talked about change, but failed to act against Tory MPs who avoided capital gains tax or profited from "flipping" their designated second homes.

Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, will launch five weeks of consultation with MPs on reforms to the expenses system tomorrow. He hopes to get it in place by the next election, assuming that it will be in May.

*Supermarkets could be forced to fund a body which would have the power to name, shame and fine retailers who deal unfairly with suppliers, the Conservatives said yesterday. An ombudsman to settle disagreements between supermarkets and farmers was proposed by the Tory frontbencher Nick Herbert. Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, he said the body would "curb abuses of power which undermine our farmers". His aides said the body, which was recommended by the Competition Commission, would be part of the Office of Fair Trading.

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