The Lib Dems respond to Short Money rumours
The Lib Dems have announced tonight that they are seeking taxpayers' money to bolster their finances whilst serving in a coalition government.
This follows a story earlier today on this blog, when I reported strong rumours that the Liberal Democrats were trying to keep receiving Short money - the annual payment to opposition parties to help them with their costs. But as the Lib Dems are now a governing party they should no longer be entitled to it.
The money was worth £1.75 million pounds to the Lib Dems last year - which could therefore amount to almost £9 million over the course of a 5 year parliament.
Having now obtained power the Lib Dems will inevitably be accused of trying to rig the system in their favour.
A Liberal Democrat spokesman just told me:
"We are no longer in receipt of Short Money as its current formulation is for opposition parties only.The current system of Short Money does not account for the complexity of situations where there is not a majority government. We are looking to existing precedents, such as that established by the previous Labour Government, in Scotland, to ensure that, as the smaller of the two coalition parties, the Liberal Democrat are able to maintain their operational independence in parliament. Recognising their role in government, the Liberal Democrats believe any such financial support for parliamentary functions should be less than received in opposition. "