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“Strengthening Democracy: Fair and Sustainable Funding of Political Parties”

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 15 March 2007

I have today laid before both Houses the report by Sir Hayden Phillips entitled “Strengthening Democracy: Fair and Sustainable Funding of Political Parties”. Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

I welcome Sir Hayden's report. He has negotiated his report with skill and dedication, and for this I am very grateful. I am sure that the other political parties share my gratitude.

The report shows very clearly that there is now the basis for a new agreement on the funding and expenditure of political parties. There are a number of detailed questions which need to be taken forward, through a process of further discussion between the political parties. I hope that following these negotiations, consensus can be reached. I have asked Sir Hayden to chair these further discussions. I believe that they should begin soon and conclude before the summer recess, in order to build a platform for legislation in the next parliamentary session.

The time has come for us to find a new settlement on party funding and expenditure. I have asked my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House of Commons to lead these negotiations for the Labour Party. I hope that the leaders of the other main parties will also nominate delegations to join the talks.