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3.43 pm

Mr. David Shaw (Dover): I oppose this Bill on the regulation of the funding of political parties. It contains more than a whiff of hypocrisy. The stench of hypocrisy surrounding it is much like that of the sewers before we privatised the water companies.

One objective of the Bill is to move Britain towards the state funding of political parties. That would be extremely damaging but Labour would like to do it. It is not about regulating those who financially support political parties but about keeping secret the millions of pounds of trade union support to Labour that would fall outside its terms. It is a classic case of Labour saying one thing and doing another.

Labour talks about disclosure of party funding and openness. The hon. Member for Warley, West (Mr. Spellar) said that there is no secrecy about Labour party funds. That statement is not true. There is a lot of secrecy when one starts to look at Labour party accounts. The Labour party makes many statements about disclosure and openness, but it says one thing and does another. The hon. Gentleman's entry in the Register of Members' Interests shows that he receives trade union funding from two sources but there is no disclosure of or openness about the amount of money that he gets from them. He is guilty of saying one thing and doing another.

The Conservative party's openness is revealed by the extent of the information that the hon. Member for Warley, West has been able to find. As he knows, we in the Conservative party go to a lot of wine and cheese parties and chicken dinners. Sometimes the cheese is not

31 Jan 1996 : Column 1006

up to scratch; sometimes the chicken is not as nice as we would like it to be. But we know that we are raising an honest penny for the Conservative party's coffers. We do not pick up the phone, as does the Labour party, to call a friendly trade unionist to get thousands of pounds. We do the hard work of going around the chicken and cheese circuit to get money for the Conservative party.

I invite hon. Members to look at the Labour party's national executive committee reports. In the 1986 report they will find an advertisement by Robert Maxwell--funding the Labour party. If they look again, they will find an advertisement for a Soviet book shop--funding the Labour party. There was no reference in the speech of the hon. Member for Warley, West to the member of the other House who sits on the Labour Front Bench and who took £250,000 of pensioners' money three weeks before Robert Maxwell jumped overboard. That is how the Labour party and its Members fund themselves.

There is worse than that. The latest accounts of the Labour party reveal that 57 per cent. of its funds come from the trade unions. However, that is 57 per cent. of what we are told about. There are many entries in the Labour party's accounts that cannot be reconciled. For example, I have here some leaked minutes of the National Trade Union and Labour Party Committee. Donations called affiliation fees from trade unions add up to £3.6 million. The Labour party's accounts give the figure as £6.6 million. There is a lot of difference between £ 6.6 million and £3.6 million. Where is the £3 million?

Mr. Bruce Grocott (The Wrekin): On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Mr. Shaw: Where are the extra affiliation fees that the Labour party does not disclose in its accounts?

Madam Speaker: Order. I have a point of order.

Mr. Grocott: The hon. Gentleman is clearly arguing in favour of greater disclosure of party funding details, which is exactly what the Bill is about. He is making a speech in favour of the Bill which masquerades as one against it.

Madam Speaker: I do not interpret the speech of the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) in that way. He is keeping himself in order. He has another minute or two in which to finish.

Mr. Shaw: I am grateful for your support, Madam Speaker.

If we consider the trade union figures, we find no openness and disclosure. The minutes of the meeting say that Unison's donation to the Labour party is £700,000, but, when one goes to Unison's accounts--buried away on a page that is difficult to find, somewhere in the middle of a 50-page document--one finds that the figure is £1,989,000, equivalent to one sixth of Labour party expenditure.

That is not the whole story. The Labour party receives more money from Unison than is disclosed in that figure. Another £94,000 is disclosed as being for parliamentary activities. Once upon a time, we were told that the Labour party would disclose how that figure is made up, and that we would find out which Front-Bench Labour Members

31 Jan 1996 : Column 1007

are receiving the money, but no such disclosures have yet been made. In that regard, Labour Front-Bench Members are guilty of saying one thing and doing another.

The Labour party does not disclose five other funds in its central accounts. The Industrial Research Trust, once mentioned in disclosures of the Leader of the Opposition and the deputy leader in the Register of Members' Interests, has now been excluded from public view and taken out--another example of saying one thing and doing another. No details are available for public scrutiny on the Labour leader's office fund--another example of saying one thing and doing another.

There are no disclosures of what the Lionel Cooke Memorial Fund is, of the details, of donors and of the size of donations. There are no disclosures of the details of the National Trade Union and Labour Party Committee funds, of the donors and of the size of donations. That is an example of the Labour party saying one thing about openness and disclosure, but doing another. [Hon. Members: "Hypocrisy"] My hon. Friends may say the word "hypocrisy": I could not possibly comment.

The Labour party is in trouble. If we consider its membership and the NEC report, we find that the Labour party boasts an 85 per cent. retention rate. If we turn that statistic around, however, it means that 15 per cent. of the Labour party membership are either dying each year or are failing to renew their membership. The Labour party retains its members only for about six years on average and then they get fed up with the Labour party. The NEC report says:

has brought

There is still a high dependency on the trade unions in Labour party financing.

The Bill should be opposed because it is full of hypocrisy by the Labour party. In his speech, the hon. Member for Warley, West, in common with his Front-Bench colleagues, has been saying one thing and doing another.

Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 19 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of Select Committees at commencement of public business):--

The House divided: Ayes 163, Noes 62.

Division No. 41
[3.52 pm


Adams, Mrs Irene
Allen, Graham
Armstrong, Hilary
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Ashton, Joe
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Betts, Clive
Bradley, Keith
Bray, Dr Jeremy
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Burden, Richard
Byers, Stephen
Callaghan, Jim
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Campbell-Savours, D N
Canavan, Dennis
Cann, Jamie
Chidgey, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Clapham, Michael
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Connarty, Michael
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cummings, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)
Dalyell, Tam
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)
Davies, Chris (L'Boro & S'worth)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Denham, John
Dixon, Don
Dobson, Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Dowd, Jim
Eastham, Ken
Etherington, Bill
Evans, John (St Helens N)
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foulkes, George
Fyfe, Maria
Galbraith, Sam
Gapes, Mike
Garrett, John
Godman, Dr Norman A
Godsiff, Roger
Golding, Mrs Llin
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Grocott, Bruce
Gunnell, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike
Hanson, David
Hardy, Peter
Hinchliffe, David
Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hoyle, Doug
Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Hutton, John
Ingram, Adam
Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)
Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Janner, Greville
Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Khabra, Piara S
Kilfoyle, Peter
Litherland, Robert
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lynne, Ms Liz
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
Macdonald, Calum
McFall, John
McKelvey, William
Mackinlay, Andrew
MacShane, Denis
Madden, Max
Mahon, Alice
Marek, Dr John
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Martin, Michael J (Springburn)
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meale, Alan
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Miller, Andrew
Morgan, Rhodri
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe)
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Paul
O'Brien, William (Normanton)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Parry, Robert
Pendry, Tom
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Pope, Greg
Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E)
Purchase, Ken
Radice, Giles
Randall, Stuart
Rendel, David
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooker, Jeff
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Ruddock, Joan
Salmond, Alex
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Skinner, Dennis
Spearing, Nigel
Spellar, John
Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stott, Roger
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, Don
Turner, Dennis
Tyler, Paul
Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Walley, Joan
Wareing, Robert N
Watson, Mike
Wigley, Dafydd
Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Wray, Jimmy
Wright, Dr Tony

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Harry Barnes and
Ms Angela Eagle.


Alexander, Richard
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)
Ashby, David
Atkins, Rt Hon Robert
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)
Banks, Matthew (Southport)
Beggs, Roy
Booth, Hartley
Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)
Carrington, Matthew
Cash, William
Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Chapman, Sir Sydney
Dover, Den
Duncan-Smith, Iain
Dunn, Bob
Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)
Fry, Sir Peter
Gallie, Phil
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Hargreaves, Andrew
Harris, David
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Hunter, Andrew
Jessel, Toby
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Leigh, Edward
McCrea, The Reverend William
Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Neubert, Sir Michael
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Patnick, Sir Irvine
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Pawsey, James
Porter, David (Waveney)
Riddick, Graham
Ross, William (E Londonderry)
Shaw, David (Dover)
Shepherd, Sir Colin (Hereford)
Skeet, Sir Trevor
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Smyth, The Reverend Martin
Sweeney, Walter
Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strgfd)
Thomason, Roy
Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Townend, John (Bridlington)
Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Tracey, Richard
Tredinnick, David
Twinn, Dr Ian
Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Paul Marland and
Mr. Jaques Arnold.

Question accordingly agreed to.

31 Jan 1996 : Column 1009

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. John Spellar, Mrs. Barbara Roche, Mr. Mike O'Brien, Mr. David Winnick, Ms Angela Eagle, Mr. D.N. Campbell-Savours, Mr. Andrew Mackinlay, Mr. Gordon McMaster, Mr. Chris Mullin and Mr. Denis MacShane.

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