Coffee House

Grant Shapps: No talks with the Lib Dems on a party funding for boundary changes deal

14 October 2012

12:10 PM

14 October 2012

12:10 PM

Grant Shapps, the perky new Tory chairman, has just been grilled on The Sunday Politics by Andrew Neil about the Tories’ majority strategy. In a sign of how tight the next election will be, Shapps stressed that you don’t actually need 326 seats to have a majority in the Commons because Sinn Fein don’t take their seats.

He said he was able to “reveal” the Tories’ 40/40 election strategy:

 “We’re going to defend our [40] most marginal seats, and we’re going to go and attack the 40 seats that we will need to win. We’re going to focus and target on those seats in a way that we’ve never done before. Targetting is very, very important and it comes down to pavement politics,  winning it seat by seat. Showing that we are the people, we’re the party, we’re the candidates who can best represent that local community.”


And he said he had not given up hope on a deal on the boundaries still being done:-

“The vote has to take place next year in October…Now a year is a long time, a week’s a long time in politics, a year is a lifetime in politics, I think an awful lot can happen between now and then… I haven’t given up hope for it because it was in the Coalition Agreement, because Nick Clegg came out very strongly and said it was right for the basis of fairness and I believe him, it was absolutely right it should happen. But, I’m putting in place a strategy for us to win the election regardless.”

Getting through the boundary changes would make the Tories’ task easier. But Shapps emphatically denied that there are any talks going on about a deal that would see the Tories agree to more state funding for political parties in exchange for the Liberal Democrats agreeing to the new boundaries.

The whole Andrew Mitchell, gate-gate business continues to dog the Tories. Shapps looked distinctly uncomfortable when questioned on it. But he said that no Tory MP had expressed concern to him about whether or not Mitchell could still effectively do his job as chief whip which is a surprise given how openly Tory MPs have been discussing this matter.

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Show comments
  • don logan

    Does Dave ever check out the spivs and other Arthur Daley types he seems to hang out with? Is there anyone out there who says ‘Come on Dave, how about doing a little due dilligence on these guys’….. Does Dave not care or is he so gullible that all you have to do is to assure him that you’re a jolly good chap and there you are hey presto you can become health secretary or chairman of the party or head of political strategy or merely a valued guest at a simple country supper…….it just seems to go on and on…..

  • philip sayers

    yes.yes . but can anyone explain how david laws isnt languishing in prison,is still an mp and has been promoted to the cabinet?

  • Bob Hill

    Is this the real lying grant crapps or his lookalike michael green
    both are snidy liars

  • EnglishWarlord

    Politicians are bought and sold like tins of beans. Public funding will stop the corruption. The only parties to lose from public funding are Labour and Conservative. They will do everything to deny the public more choice politically. Its the reason Proportional representation was excluded as an option for electoral reform. If voting changed anything, it would be banned.

  • philip sayers

    another con man methinks. just wait for some scandal to be linked to him.

  • David B

    Politics has to find a way to re engage the general population (ultimately we who read and post here and else where are fast shrinking minority) before they can consider public funding. At the moment people think they are irrelevant and only in it for what they can get. Funding from the tax payer would only add to that impression

    • James102

      Yes but who is right the members of the electorate who think voting is pointless or the ever dwindling section that thinks it does?

      • David B

        We are right, but its the others that have to be persuaded.

  • Thomas Paine

    The man was a waste of space at housing – all mouth and no trousers – and Cameron will rue the day he selected him over a proper big hitter with serious party credentials.

    • James102

      But it is not just one bad appointment is it? Hilton/ Hircsák, a Hungarian immigrant who shaves his head and walks around Downing Street in shorts and bare feet is employed to dream up policies to appeal to the majority of the electorate! Andrew Mitchell is given the Chief Whips job despite seeming to be the perfect model of the toxic Alan B’Stard type the Conservatives want to disown—and Cameron and Johnson do some juvenile dance routine—they have become beyond parody and make even Miliband and Balls look electable.

      • James102

        No edit or I would have changed the above to “was employed…”

    • Austin Barry

      Shapps is a bit of spiv, so he is destined for high office.

      • Bob Hill

        which is right NOW

  • alexsandr

    Public funding of political parties is an appalling idea, That was not in the Tory manifesto so should not be even up for discussion.
    If parties cant get funding from their supporters they don’t have a right to exist.
    I think the correct response to the the limp dems to such a suggestion should be ‘eff off’

    • dalai guevara

      Public funding actually is n o t an appalling idea. Think about it:

      1- all that Union appeasement one could avoid
      2- all the Ashcroft appeasement one could avoid

      When funding is based on vote count, then parties would no longer run for the cash, but for the best ideas – it’s that simple. Now, are you coming for dinner? Don’t forget to bring your cheque book.

      • dalai guevara

        for all those who prefer dinner parties to anti corruption measures, my BACS detail are as follows….

        $6bn to determine the President of the US, no one blinks an eyelid.

        • Andy

          You might care to think a bit about Greece. Recently the political parties have carved up a nice fat cake between themselves: Syriza for example pocketed 8 Million Euros. They have 71 MPs and each MP has 5 members of staff paid for by the State, although they are using most of these staff for ‘party’ matters outside parliament. On the island I visit the chemist has not been paid for over a year, so some of us have stumped up some cash to stop him going bankrupt, and so the local people will have access to drugs.

          Once you start allowing political parties to be directly funded by the State you ‘nationalise’ politics and corrupt the state, which is what has happened in Greece.

          • dalai guevara

            Andy – you could quite obviously put a lid on levels of funding. Similar to our ‘John Lewis’ list. How would that corrupt the state, I cannot follow.

            Please refrain from using an example of an allegedly corrupt arrangement to defend another allegedly corrupt arrangement.

            • Andy

              Not in the least surprised you just don’t get the point. A political party should not be funded by the State because it fundamentally alters the relationship that party has towards the State.

              The example of Greece is not so swiftly swept under the carpet as you would wish. I, for one, am dismayed at how the political class has destroyed the Greek State. As I mentioned the Greek State cannot afford to pay the chemists – nearly 18 months outstanding – and yet they can cough up 8 million for Fascists like Syriza. Notice the political parties haven’t had to wait 18 months for loads of State cash.

              If a political party cannot survive on its own then it deserves to go bankrupt. It means that it is not advocating policies the people are willing to support.

              • dalai guevara

                You are digging out Greece, again! Why can you not look at party funding in democratic states that are not tarnished by alleged corruption? Until you do that, I will not entertain the thought that funding per vote count will not work. For the plain thinkers amongst us, vote count equals support.

                • Andy

                  Like I said you should actually look at Greece and how politics, at both national and local level, actually works. Your idea that a party should get £x per vote has many problems. There are two large parties – UKIP and the BNP – who gain almost a million and over half a million votes respectively and yet do not gain any seats. The Greens have one seat but only 265000 votes. Plaid Cymru has 6 MPs but got only 165000 votes.

                  These parties with seats will say that parties with no seats shouldn’t get funding or it should be less. And those with seats will control who gets what and how much they get. You will soon find that it will go from say 10p per vote to 11p and so on and so forth. That is exactly what happened in Greece. And that is where you end up. We are already on that road. Look at the growth in ‘Pilgrims’ under the last government. And so it goes on. But of course you are not interested in any of this because you are a ‘plain thinker’.

                  If you don’t understand what I mean by political parties and their ‘relationship to the State’ then all one can say is that you haven’t thought this through. I say again look at Greece.

                • dalai guevara

                  Hahahaha, the Greens say UKIP should get no funding? What utter nonsense. It is the main parties who know full well that if ‘funding per vote count’ was introduced, they would be the ones to lose out. It is frankly a HoL/ boundary reform scenario – the parties in question respectively know they will lose out. So no change occurs, although the majority of voters support this change. How does t h a t constitute democratic representation?

                • Andy

                  I did not say ‘the Green say UKIP should get no funding’ – you should learn to read. What I said was that those parties with seats – which includes the Greens – would set the rules and you can bet that would be in their own favour. At present parties like Labour will not even share a platform with the BNP, and yet they are a legal political party, so can you see them handing over dollops of taxpayers money to them ? No.

                  Your refusal to look at what has happened in Greece is exactly the attitude one expected. I happen to have known many Greek politicians, including Andreas Papandreou, and that is one of the reasons I oppose your ideas. It all begins with the modest idea of State funding, and you will find it rapidly spirals out of control until you end up with the situation in Greece where the political class has all but looted the State. The road to hell, or in this case the road to tyranny, is paved with what appear to be good intentions.

                • dalai guevara

                  The Greens, the Greeks, give me a break… they are i r r e l e v a n t. Your refusal to look at what matters leaves me thinking you can’t.

                • Andy

                  Yes, arm ? Leg ? Ribs ?

                  The points I have made are only ‘irrelevant’ in what passes for your mind. I suggested you look at Greece because there will you find an example of how these things develop and end with the political class looting the State. The fact you are incapable of looking at this and appreciating the points I, and others, have made in opposition to your ideas merely shows you have not thought through these daft ideas.

                • dalai guevara

                  Why should anything coming out of Greece right now be of relevance to us? We have b e t t e r examples. You don’t want to look, fine – I got that. The Greek issue of funding is not our problem, because even you can see the problem.

                  What you cannot see is the problems we have.

      • James102

        Yes I think you are right. Policies are bought and because of the way donation can be made we can’t even see who are buying them.
        To help new parties there would need to be a membership factor in the funding. Funding would also need to be minimised as politics should not be an industry. If the parties could not buy resources they would need to encourage volunteers which would result in more participation.

    • Robert Castlereagh

      I think the Tories may need the LibDems to fend off the extremely negative vibes they gave out in Birmingham.

      i recall that Osborne announced a further £10 billion in welfare cuts. (That’s on
      top of £18 billion cuts to benefits already announced.) These are cuts the Lib
      Dems had promised would not happen without new wealth taxes.

      Osborne said he wouldn’t “balance the budget on the wallets of the rich”. Yet he still dared to repeat his lie, “We’re all in this together.”

      On housing benefit. Osborne said they want to take it away from under-25s, forcing many to move back in with their parents.

      Osborne also launched a new attack on basic employment rights. Employers will be able to take away rights from new workers, such as the right to sue for unfair dismissal.(In return they would have to offer a bribe of a few shares in the
      firm—which could turn out to be worthless.)

      At the same time the “shares for rights” scheme scraps capital gains tax on shares up to £50,000. (A fat cats tax break)

      Boris called for a revival of grammar schools, saying, “I’m a strong believer in competitive education.”

      Justice secretary Chris Grayling unveiled “shoot a burglar” plans.

      David Cameron said, “You can do anything as long as it’s not grossly disproportionate.”

      The Nasty party are back

      And there is something of the night in Teresa May

      Yes indeed they need Cleggy and co

      • James102

        You seem to be making the assumption that the electorate share the values of the Guardian’s leader writers.

        • James102

          From the latest polling:
          “People are evenly split on the principle of cutting an extra £10 billion off the welfare bill (43% support, 43% oppose) but they support the specific ideas floated at the party conference – 51% support stopping housing benefit for most under 25s and 67% support stopping unemployed parents from receiving extra benefits when they have another child. They would, however, have been even more supportive of the mansion tax that George Osborne ruled out – 73% say they are in favour of a new tax on homes worth over £2 million.”

    • rubyduck

      Parties should not be acknowledged by the constitution at all. We vote for individuals.

      If they really want public funding of parliamentary candidates, so be it, but it’d have to be same sized wad for each and every one of them.

  • James102

    Watching the interview I could not help but think of the basic immaturity of our political class generally and the Conservative leadership in particular. Maybe it was because I had just read about Cameron and Johnson doing their Gangnam dance at Chequers or maybe the reviews of the Osborne biography. Is Snapps, or whatever his name is…Green?…the best candidate for chairman? If they wanted to overcome the over privileged student amateur image surely someone a bit more mature and serious would have been better? As for Mitchell, can’t they offer him something so he resigns ‘in the interests of the party/country..Whatever’?
    The Conservatives can’t win unless they either have a pact with Ukip or call a referendum on EU membership; it is about time they simply faced up to it.
    Maybe Cameron is bored with UK politics and does not care. It is now believed he was so uninterested in his cabinet he left it to Osborne to make the decisions with Hilton/ Hircsák.
    Amateur Night at the Palais.

    • Heartless etc.,

      “No deals” – eh?

      We’ll see: we’ll see, in time, what this Lame-Duck ‘Government’ contrives to cling to the last vestiges of power.

      The future is indeed bleak, unless or until . . . . .

      • James102

        This resembles the Game Theory exercise: ‘The Prisoner’s Delema’,if Labour offer a referendum before the Conservatives it is game over.Clegg has probably made it clear such an offer or a pact with Ukip is the end of the coalition as the EU is much more important to him than the UK.

    • Bob Hill

      Fair points in general..but this party so badly led by cameron and osborne…will not see power again, they have been tried and been exposed as dangerous heartless amateurs a plague on all their houses

  • Daniel Maris

    “Perky”? Don’t you mean “extremely annoying”? I don’t think you realise what a vote-loser that guy is along with Andrew Mitchell, George Osborne and several others.

    There are vote-winners – Cameron and Boris are basically vote-winners – and vote losers. Schapps (aka Michael “The testimonials were all genuine” Green) is definitely in the second camp.

    • ToryOAP

      I am a big fan of Grant Schapps, certainly a vast improvement on Baroness Whateverhername. I saw Dimblebore and the unlovely Flint trying to make hay on this Michael Green business on Question Time; who here can claim to use their own name and what laws were broken? As for the oaf Mitchell, I would keep him in he role and go to town on the politicised police federations and on those who leaked the story and the police notes to the press. The more the press, the police and the press go for Mitchell the more I warm to him. And I consider pleb less vituperative than toff by the way.

      • Daniel Maris

        I don’t think most people are trying to get people to part with money. A rather interesting and important difference especially as “Michael Green”‘s activities were somewhat questionable (e.g. selling out of copyright books that were freely available on the internet – hardly what you might call “wealth creation”).

        • Coffeehousewall

          How is it questionable to republish out of copyright books? All of the Penguin Classics collection are just that, and many other series by other publishers.

          • Daniel Maris

            His website gave the impression the books were very rare and not easily available, or so Michael Crick (usually reliable in such matters) claims. Whereas they were freely available. As far as I know Penguin Classics don’t try to claim that they the texts are not available elsewhere. And they are published cheaply not at a huge mark up.

            • Coffeehousewall

              The books were indeed not easily available. Getting a scan of a book as a pdf is not the same as having a hard copy. Are you aware of the costs of small quantity printing compared to the massive runs of Penguin? What is it to do with you which prices he set? If people didn’t want to buy them they didn’t have to.

              • Daniel Maris

                Yes – small quantity printing is very cheap these days. Try it – go and look at Lulu publishers as one example.

                It’s nothing to do with me what prices he charges. It might be something to do with trading standards/ASA though, if he was representing the book as being something it was not.

                Read about it here:


          • telemachus

            “telemachus has already outed himself as a Muslim elsewhere on this site in the past. As a Muslim nothing he says can be trusted since he is allowed to lie.”
            I would have no problem if this were true.
            However at my school I was invited once a year to contribute to the Anglican Mission to the Jews.
            I have always thought that we should do just that to the Muslims as I tried in Omdurman in the early 1980’s.
            I did no good but I gained my respect for these proud people
            I think posters on Coffee House if not aware should know that the coffeehousewall pseudonym is a bogus name hiding Peter from Maidstone, an extreme right wing Islamophobe, who posts on this site in the hope that some misguided poster will join his band of a dozen loonies who between them now manage just around 20 comments a day

            • Hexhamgeezer


              • telemachus

                Yes chum
                You are one of the loonies

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  T i T

            • Fergus Pickering

              What do you mean a bogus name? Nobody supposes his name is PeterfromMaidstone. Your name is equally bogus. And mine, come to that.