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Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, although the argument was not in the least compelling, it certainly was not surprising. If there were equivalent bodies on the Conservative side which would be allowed to spend £1 million each, the noble Lord and his officials would have found a way of ensuring that the capping which the Bill imposes on political parties could not be breached by the use of the bodies affiliated to the political party and well able to spend lots of money.
It is unbelievable that the Minister should try to persuade me that the trade unions are somehow separate from the Labour Party. I read out 33 NEC members, 12 of them nominated by the trade unions. I read out what was said by his noble friend Lord Whitty. It is the least convincing argument.
He could put forward many other arguments. He could say that it would be difficult and bureaucratic--which would not surprise me, given the rest of the Bill--or he could simply say, "We do not believe that this should be done. The trade unions have a right to campaign for who they like and if they are campaigning for us, good and well". I say simply that if they were campaigning for the Liberal Democrats or for the Conservative Party, I would wager that he
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