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Elections (Non-party Campaigning)

Volume 566: debated on Tuesday 9 July 2013

2. What assessment he has made of the role of campaigning by bodies other than political parties in elections. (163789)

At the 2010 general election, the Electoral Commission registered 30 so-called third parties, which between them spent nearly £3 million. The Government are introducing sensible and necessary improvements to the controls on third parties to ensure that they are fully transparent and not allowed to distort the political process.

Given the scandal involving Unite the Union in Falkirk, and the leaked internal document showing that it is now trying to influence selections in 40 other constituencies across the country, including Pendle, does the Minister agree that there is huge public demand for complete transparency on the influence of trade unions on our political system?

It is high time this is looked at. I think that the examples my hon. Friend has just given demonstrate that these are by no means isolated cases. It is the same old Labour party, which Len McCluskey still bankrolls, still rigs selections for, still controls and still chooses the leader for.

The Minister talks about transparency in the political system. She will be aware of the huge concern in March last year when it was first disclosed that multi-millionaires were getting privileged access to No. 10 Downing street and potentially influencing Government policy. It is about more than just elections; it is about influencing Government policy. Does she think that those millionaires will have more of an impact or less of an impact at the next general election?

I think that the right hon. Gentleman is just treading time until his leader gets up to speak. Perhaps the leader is as weak as he is.