MPs urge swift action to limit donations to political parties

The Government must act to clean up political funding before another scandal occurs, a Commons committee urged yesterday.

MPs called on the Coalition to stick to pledges to reform party financing "in order to remove big money from politics". Last year, the Committee on Standards in Public Life proposed a £10,000 cap on donations in an effort to end "cash for influence" scandals and corruption allegations.

The shortfall would partly be met by a £23m-a-year subsidy from the taxpayer. But the three main parties united to rule out asking voters to pay in the present economic climate, even if this meant delaying any change until 2015. The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee concedes that a cross-party solution "will not be easy to achieve" but called on the Government to look again at the proposals.

"Public confidence in politics risks being further undermined if some future scandal intervenes before a solution is in place," its report warns.

Committee chairman Graham Allen said: "Public concern about party political funding continues to undermine confidence in politics and MPs. It is high time this issue was resolved.

"The publication of the report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life provides a golden opportunity for the Government to get this issue back out of the box marked 'too difficult' and make a serious effort to find a fair solution which is acceptable to all parties."

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