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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.

I hear his suggestion that the Conservative Party should find friends who will do the same thing. I wonder whether he would be happy to allow those

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"friends" to drive a coach and horses through the capping expenditure, which is what he wants his friends to be able to do as proposed in the Bill.

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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would take a different view. But it is too late to put that bet to any kind of test and I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I beg to move that further consideration on Report be now adjourned.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

Insolvency Bill [HL]

Returned from the Commons on Friday 17 November agreed to with amendments; the Commons amendments printed pursuant to Standing Order 50.

        House adjourned at eight minutes past eleven o'clock.

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