Christopher Kelly: PM must put the national interest first

We proposed a donation limit, tax relief on small donations and some additional state funding

Share

The inter-party talks announced as a result of the
latest cash for access scandal are a real opportunity to deal with the corrosive
damage done by our defective system of party funding. The system may not be
corrupt but it is obviously corruptible.

When the parties sit down I hope that they will put aside their entrenched party positions and think about the impact these successive scandals are having on public trust in our political process.  

The parties’ individual positions on this issue make sense when looked at from their point of view. The conservatives have a large number of wealthy supporters who would be able to give £50,000 a year – the level of cap that they propose. My Committee’s view was that this was much too high to convince anyone that the ‘big money’ had been taken out of politics.

Labour take the view that the large donations from the trades unions come from a collection of smaller gifts from a large number of individuals and should be treated as such.  To make that credible my Committee thought they needed to make a number of changes in the way those contributions are collected and paid.

We need to break the impasse between the parties.

The blueprint for reform we published last Autumn was reasonable and fair and, because we are independent, free of party political advantage. We proposed donation limit of £10,000, a reduction in party expenditure at elections, tax relief on small donations and, controversially, some additional state funding at least in the short term. Having looked at this issue in detail, the uncomfortable truth is that there really is no credible way to remove the big money without it.

The damage done to public confidence in our elected representatives in recent years by expenses revelations and donations scandals cannot be underestimated. Sustainable reform will only come about if it is even-handed. It really is time to put the national interest first.

Sir Christopher Kelly is chairman of the Committte on Standrads in Public Life

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Experienced Cover Supervisors Needed

£55 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education have cover s...

**** Calling All NQT's ****

£90 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Are you a Newly Qualified Teac...

Cover Supervising Roles Longridge

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Preston: A mainstream secondary school i...

Cover Supervisor Preston

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Cover Supervisor Jobs in Presto...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The view from Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh  

Scottish independence: Why I can't wait to leave London and live in a free, independent Scotland

Yannis Baboulias
 

Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware last-minute promises. Vote Yes.

Sol Zanetti
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week