» Thursday, March 29, 2007

Parliamentary Standards Committee Report

Asked if he agreed with the conclusion of a report criticising the conduct of the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Straw said he did and was quite clear that the Committee was quite correct to say that he had been "ill-advised" in directly promoting the issue of access to his office and party fund-raising. Mr Straw said that it underlined the need to impose much more effective spending limits on the parties, because it was that issue which was driving the need for funds in all the main parties. Donation caps may or may not have a role, but unless the total amount that could be spent either at or between elections was pinned down effectively, he thought that the kind of conduct identified in the Committee report would continue. The Leader said that was not good for British politics or public life.

Later, in response to a further question, Mr Straw said that it was the Committee which had come up with some hard-hitting conclusions – but he was happy to endorse them. The Leader said the fundamental issue was that the spending "arms race" had to be ended. While everything else might be important, it was subsidiary to that main issue, which was the driver.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Search for related news

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