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Rumours that Lib Dems hope to continue receiving Short money

Michael Crick | 17:09 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Strong rumours reach me that the Liberal Democrats are trying to keep receiving Short money. That's the taxpayers money which opposition parties - yes, OPPOSITION parties - get from the state to help balance the fact that the governing party has the distinct advantage of being in office, with special advisers, and so on. And now, of course, the Lib Dems are a governing party, so shouldn't be entitled to Short money.

Short money was introduced by the Labour Leader of the House Ted Short in the mid-1970s to help opposition parties operate properly. The money was worth £1.75 million to the Lib Dems last year. That compares with their total party budget of around £5 million. So the Liberal Democrats will be in big trouble without that funding.

The sums are calculated on a formula based on the number of seats obtained at the last election and the number of votes.

If the Lib Dems are indeed trying to keep up the Short payments it will look very odd in this era of 'new politics' and financial stringency.

Coming on top of the row over the proposed 55 per cent rule, the Lib Dems will inevitably be accused, having now obtained some power, of trying to rig the system in their own favour.

My efforts to get a response from the Liberal Democrats this afternoon have met with silence.

I know an email is circulating amongst senior Lib Dems with details of my enquiries. Perhaps one of them could get back to me.


  • Comment number 1.

    I voted Lib Dem and suppor this coalition. They clearly have no right to this money so i hope they don't let those of us who have faith in them down. Kudos to Nick Clegg for his speech earlier, is this an attempt from Labour or some disaffected Tories to smear them?

  • Comment number 2.

    Sorry Lib Dem sell-outs, you can't have your cake and eat it. This is the 'new politics', remember?

  • Comment number 3.

    The Lib Dems suddenly find themselves facing testing time. This would be a massive budget cut, but can they do the right thing?

    In the final weeks of the election the Daily Mail and the Spectator published extracts from what they described as a Lib Dem manual for maximising expenses. Expect more stories like that as time goes on.

    They need to be squeaky clean if they want to remain the champions of new politics.

  • Comment number 4.

    Oh dear, it looks like the Lib-Dems haven't quite thought this through properly. With some paid-up party members defecting to the Labour Party over their decision to get into bed with the Tory Party, could we see a political party going into financial meltdown? But on the other hand, I suppose they could always turn to Lord Ashcroft, who maybe able to spare a bit of small change for them...

  • Comment number 5.


    Politicians are amateurs when it comes to achievement of lasting good. Worse, they are need-driven (ambitious) amateurs. The number of their 'initiatives' that fail, is telling. But the money is not theirs, and they only lose their job, in extreme circumstances. Nothing a well constructed lie won't fix.

    It stands to reason they will not have thought this through. They are as much blaggers as Del Boy. It is smoke and mirrors with sub-standard smoke and bent mirrors. Hey - a perfect description of Westminster.


  • Comment number 6.

    It's all within the rules.

  • Comment number 7.

    you play with the big boys...this is what you get...

  • Comment number 8.

    how long does is take for them to betray our trust? I have been helping parents in Wandsworth with a new Free School project: Free School? bananas. they are allowed (by tory PR people)to select a provider from a short list of 1, of which the CEO has just been made a tory lord; the whole concept is about political power and doctrine, whilst the parents - voters - are stitched up to make it look clean. apparently DC has plenty of so called charities, funded by mates, which are being given government business via the back door. the least the libdems could do is police the tories to ensure they REALLY do a big society: big society? best mates club!!if you're not in it pay your taxes and get lost.


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