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Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I happen to believe in the value of small donors. I have personal knowledge of how the Labour Party has tried to develop its funding base over many years. We encourage members of our party to increase the level of their support through small donations. We have done that reasonably effectively. It is for the political parties to do that. We collect many millions of votes in general and local elections. We have that contact with the electorate. It is for us to go out to sell the benefits of participation in political parties and to secure those extra small donations. I agree with the noble Lord that an over-reliance on a small number of large donors is

27 Nov 2000 : Column 1142

less desirable in the body politic. No doubt noble Lords on the Opposition Benches will want to reflect carefully on that point.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, before the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Jacobs, the Minister left us with the thought that he could not understand the logic of the Opposition's position. I must say that for most of the proceedings on the Bill the Opposition have been unable to understand the Minister's logic. Perhaps he joins us just for a moment in being perplexed; we have been perplexed for hours.

I was interested in the Minister's arguments. When he goes back to the office perhaps he might think about sacking his researcher and his speech writer. They did not give him anything with which to address the main points in the amendment. The main points are those made in the Neill committee report. If the Minister wants to find out about state funding and how that relates to tax relief, I suggest that his researcher invites him to read Chapters 7 and 8 of the Neill committee report. The noble Lord might try to address some of the arguments in those chapters. He might try to address some of the arguments put forward by the noble Lords, Lord Neill and Lord Goodhart, both of whom sat on the committee. But the noble Lord simply refused to address those arguments. The noble Lord had his own tiny agenda and he was determined to pursue that.

If the noble Lord's researcher had drawn the noble Lord's attention to the evidence given to the Neill committee by the Conservative Party, he would have seen what is stated on page 241:

    "Rather than call for state funding we would welcome the Committee's views about how more individuals could be encouraged to donate. We note that in some countries individuals are offered tax relief for political donations, elsewhere tax credits or matching grants are provided. We believe that the Committee should give serious consideration to the practicalities of these approaches in the context of the United Kingdom's voluntary system".

Half-way through his speech the noble Lord said that we could not point to anywhere in the world where what we propose takes place. I pointed to Canada--not because the point was original to me but because it was made in the Neill committee's report. However, I had forgotten that the noble Lord's researcher had not pointed out to him that he ought to read the Neill committee's report before he talks about these matters. In evidence given on 22nd April my noble friend Lord Parkinson explained where the Conservative Party was coming from.

The idea that what we propose is direct state funding--that was the argument of the noble Baroness, Lady Gould--does not hold water. The noble Baroness quoted evidence given some years ago by the Conservative Party to a House of Commons Select Committee. I quote what the noble Baroness quoted--I wrote it down. She referred to the,

    "dependence of parties on their own activities".

That is the whole point. State funding implies that the parties just sit back and the Government give them money. But tax relief implies that the political parties

27 Nov 2000 : Column 1143

have to go out and persuade people to join and to give those donations of under £500; and on the back of that they will get tax relief on it. It is very dependent on the activities of the political parties. If a political party decides to sit back and do absolutely nothing, it will not get very much help in the way of tax relief. Therefore, I do not think that the noble Baroness's argument is sustainable.

We have had an interesting debate. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, for his support and for his kind words. This is a slightly nostalgic day. I now look forward, perhaps for the last time, to leading a defeat of the Government in the Lobbies. I hope that that can be achieved by the Liberal Democrats sticking with what was said by their colleagues in another place. I wish to test the opinion of the House.

5.7 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 5) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 199; Not-Contents, 136.

Division No. 2


Aberdare, L.
Addington, L.
Alexander of Weedon, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Ashcroft, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Barber, L.
Barker, B.
Belstead, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Bristol, Bp.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Burns, L.
Buscombe, B.
Butterworth, L.
Byford, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chadlington, L.
Chilver, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Coe, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Cranborne, V.
Crathorne, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geddes, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L. [Teller]
Goschen, V.
Greaves, L.
Greenway, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haslam, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg, B.
Hooper, B.
Hooson, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Jacobs, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jellicoe, E.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Macfarlane of Bearsden, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
MacLaurin of Knebworth, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monson, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Lower Marsh, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Neill of Bladen, L.
Newby, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Oxford, Bp.
Palumbo, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Perry of Walton, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Prentice, L.
Quinton, L.
Rawlings, B.
Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Russell, E.
Sandberg, L.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Slim, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Sterling of Plaistow, L.
Stewartby, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Tebbit, L.
Tenby, V.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warnock, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Wolfson, L.
Young, B.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brennan, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Chandos, V.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dubs, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
McCarthy, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Molloy, L.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Nicol, B.
Peston, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Richardson of Calow, B.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Sheppard of Liverpool, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Turnberg, L.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warner, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Dartington, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

27 Nov 2000 : Column 1145

5.19 p.m.

Clause 70 [Special provision for Northern Ireland parties]:

[Amendments Nos. 6 to 12 not moved.]

Clause 73 [Notional campaign expenditure]:

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