Coffee House

Tories still hope for something to turn up on boundary changes

15 October 2012

15 October 2012

This is a story that’s going to run and run until MPs walk through the lobbies next year in the vote approving the boundary reforms: senior Tories are plotting to buy the Lib Dems off from blocking changes to constituencies by offering them state funding of political parties. The latest plot has surfaced in today’s Financial Times, with one Conservative minister telling the paper that the Lib Dems are ‘basically out of money’.

As expected, the Lib Dems are rejecting the story, arguing there is no way that the party would do a deal on party funding when their plan to vote down the boundary reforms is revenge for the Tory failure to support Lords reform. They believe the mood at their autumn conference underlined that this rebellion was the right thing to do, and continue to grow very exercised whenever someone suggests a deal might be struck. Party chairman Grant Shapps rejected the idea yesterday, too. There’s also a perception problem with offering party funding in exchange for support for the boundaries, which the FT’s headline – ‘Tories plot cash-for-seats offer to Clegg’ – sums up very neatly. This exchange would look grubby: money for a party that’s short of a bob or two in return for seats for a party that desperately needs them to secure a majority in 2015. It’s not very ‘new politics’.

But the fact that these plots are continuing in Conservative circles suggests senior party members are not quite so convinced by Nick Clegg’s tough talk on boundaries as his own party is. Like Mr Micawber, they still believe that something will turn up in time for them to distract the Liberal Democrats sufficiently to make them troop through the ‘yes’ lobby.


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Show comments
  • William Blakes Ghost

    The very idea of funding these incompetent dysfunctional dishonest organisations is an obscenity and a crime against democracy!

  • Charlie the Chump

    LIbdems. Give them nothing. Nothing. Then they go bust, the scabby entrails crawl back to Labour and the socialist disease once again becomes our one true enemy.

  • Paul

    “the Lib Dems are rejecting the story, arguing there is no way that the party would do a deal on party funding when their plan to vote down the boundary reforms is revenge for the Tory failure to support Lords reform”
    Does Clegg really think his stance of “we didn’t get our [thoroughly self-serving] Lords reform, so we’ll vote against boundary changes” makes him look anything other than petulant, petty and vindictive? A winning stance for someone who claims to stand for a fairer electoral system.

  • MinnieOvens

    Personally I am so fed up with the Fat Flashman that I couldn’t care less about his efforts to re-align voting boundaries. His party is now the same as Labour or the LiDems.
    But to offer money to political parties in return for re-distribution of boundaries is repellently disgusting.
    The reason he and Clegg have few donors of funds and need another slurp from the ever full trough is because he has alienated everyone with his brand of Liberal Conservatism, which no-one wants.
    Cameron, you’re not given money as no one wants you!
    He wishes to pile on the debt to include funding the major parties, as well as funding his wretched International Development fund, all by borrowing more money.
    I thought Blair was an inchoate opportunist but this very sleazy Prime Minister, an unctuous self promoter of the first rank, is ripping out any established standards of morality from both Westminster and Whitehall

    • Charlie the Chump

      No public money for political parties. None.

  • andagain

    “their plan to vote down the boundary reforms is revenge for the Tory failure to support Lords reform. ”

    The most predictable event in the history of politics. Did the Tories really not see it coming? They sound like a bunch of children “It’s not FAIR”.

    • Paul

      So the Tories should have agreed to any old tripe Clegg came up with just to get the boundary changes through? I respect them more for throwing the proposals out: the Commons debate about the proposals showed Clegg was out of his depth. In any event, Clegg would probably have made up some other sanctimonious excuse for going back on the boundary revision given LibDems would have been adversely affected.

      • andagain

        They should not have thrown out the thing they knew the LibDems cared most about, and then gone all shocked and surprised when it turned out they were annoyed by that.

  • andagain

    “their plan to vote down the boundary reforms is revenge for the Tory failure to support Lords reform. ”

    The most predictable event in the history of politics. Did the Tories really not see it coming? They sound like a bunch of children “It’s not FAIR”.

  • LondonStatto

    Two points:

    (1) The Tories are unlikely to make another deal with the Lib Dems to do something in exchange for boundary reform as last time such a deal was made the Lib Dems reneged.

    (2) It’s very possible something will turn up, namely that in 2014 the Lib Dems will realise that they don’t want to take an action that would lead to them being instantly ejected from government whilst at the same time having to fight the next general election on a platform of wanting more politicians.

  • Andy

    The Tories ought to exact a very heavy revenge on the LibDems for the Boundary review. It was in the agreement and was not, as the Liar Clegg maintains, linked to House of Lords reform – and his ideas on that were utter crap.

    The very last thing we should do is give state funding to political parties. As I said on another thread you only have to look at Greece to see that is a terrible idea. And we should also sort out ‘Pilgrims’ in the public sector, as Guido has been pointing out.

    • Russell

      I cannot understand why the tories are not pointing out that the coalition agreement did not say that HoL reform would be carried out, only that a reform plan would be brought forward by a committee, which it has.
      The LibDems are at fault for not honouring their agreement to boundary review and should be castigated at every opportunity.
      This tory party are spineless, not attacking either labour or LibDems on various issues where the other parties are telling lies.

      • dorothy wilson

        Agreed. But as well as making the point about the coalition agreement to the voting public they need to point out the unfairness of the present system. Specifically, they need to point out the disparity under the current system of the number of votes required to elect MPs of each of the parties. And both on the airwaves and in the print media they should make sure that the key question of why Labour is against boundary reforms is spelled out loud and clear.

        Unfortunately though on this, as with so many issues, the Conservatives’ communication tactics are likely to be found very much wanting.

        • Barry

          If they did that thay would undermine their arguments against PR. One of the most perverse outcomes of the last election was how the Green Party managed to get an MP elected whilst receiving far fewer votes across the country than the BNP or UKIP. The Greens could do this because under our nonsensical system it is WHERE you have your votes and NOT HOW MANY you have which determines a party’s representation in the Commons.

    • Charlie the Chump

      Pilgrims: good luck to Mad Frankie!

  • McRobbie

    To see labour and liberals making a stand against one person one vote all of equal value is dismaying. These hypocrits pretend to stand for equality, as long as the equality is biased to their side. Power hungry bigots, the lot of them.

    • Charlie the Chump

      Equality for the Central Committee! For The Commisars! For Bob Crowe!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iain-Hill/100000917822376 Iain Hill

    Presumably any attempt at state funding would face considerable legal challenge?

    • James102

      On what grounds? Restriction of trade of our political class?

    • James102

      On what grounds? Restriction of trade of our political class?

      • Charlie the Chump

        Theft

    • Charlie the Chump

      I Bloody hope so!

  • alexsandr

    as i said on another thread, the idea of giving our money to political parties is an appalling idea. Parties that cannot get their supporters to fund them have no right to exist. Everyone should scream from the rooftops to kill this idea stone dead.
    It would also put in a very high barrier for new parties to start so establishing the fossil of liblabcon for ever. How is that possibly healthy?

    • Bruce, UK

      Agreed. Further, it will criminalise yet another section of society that, for obvious reasons of political conscience and support for true democracy will refuse to pay. Why in hell would or should I provide life support to a cabal of thieves and liars who do not work in the interest of the country but only in the interest of their respective parties or who espouse policies I find inimical to my beliefs? If parties wish for more money they should look to their own memberships. If the current parties cannot survive with their diminished memberships then let them wither and fall.

      Not one penny more.

      • James102

        You already pay taxes to employ people to promote political ideology you may not agree with: all those Diversity type posts and compulsory training sessions for public sector staff.

        • Bruce, UK

          As I said, not one penny more.

      • telemachus

        Oh so it would criminalise you.
        Then we can oulaw posting on the web by criminals

    • James102

      It is not their supporters’ funding many of us object to but the possibility that foreign governments could channel money to them as well as special interest groups in order to buy policies.
      Funding based on votes at the last election and membership, so new parties can emerge, seems a better way. It would also allow us to consider the level of funding and whether so much should be spent on Spads.

      • telemachus

        ‘foreign governments could channel money to them ‘
        This of course is outlawed already and stamped on.
        The proposals are really a cloak to attack funding of Labour by the Unions because the Unions are also prepared to support political campaigns and are prepared to defend jobs and services against savage un-necessary Coalition cuts.

    • dalai guevara

      As I stated in another thread, ‘funding for vote count’ is not such an appalling idea opposed by the main parties in power to continue their path of sponsored dinners, rather than a meaningful anti corruption agenda.

      • James102

        I think the power of lobbyists’ money can be seen from Cameron’s priorities at the conference.
        For the first time a leader failed to attend a British Legion event being staged there because he was too busy. He was though able to attend a property developers’ meeting held at the same time.

        • dalai guevara

          cash for no more affordable housing quotas?
          cash for defense?
          cash for upholding tax evasion loopholes?
          cash for franchise awards?
          cash for a continued NHS sell out to private industries?
          cash for only going after foreign banksters?

          We are bl**dy well all in this s**t together.

          PS: how could I forget virtual ‘cash’ from the Australian press in return for VC’s head (which again does not exclude the other side)

        • dalai guevara

          cash for no more affordable housing quotas?
          cash for defense?
          cash for upholding tax evasion loopholes?
          cash for franchise awards?
          cash for a continued NHS sell out to private industries?
          cash for only going after foreign banksters?

          We are bl**dy well all in this s**t together.

          PS: how could I forget virtual ‘cash’ from the Australian press in return for VC’s head (which again does not exclude the other side)

          • James102

            Cash from foreign despots—channelled via various people for foreign aid.
            Cash from the EU unaudited accounts?
            Cash from foreign governments via supporters in the UK.

            • dalai guevara

              Ah yes, another poster how wishes to blame others before he blames himself. Mirror mirror on the wall…

              • James102

                We have a long history of bribing foreign potentates to support our policies ,why think others don’t do the same thing?

                • dalai guevara

                  you have made a valid addition, not a deduction.

                • James102

                  Understand.
                  The enormous wealth of some politician from the last government does seem strange considering they have never worked outside politics before holding office.

                • dalai guevara

                  😉

                • Charlie the Chump

                  No Broon is!

                • dalai guevara

                  Wowowow – you are in danger of exposing your limited analytical abilities.

      • James102

        I think the power of lobbyists’ money can be seen from Cameron’s priorities at the conference.
        For the first time a leader failed to attend a British Legion event being staged there because he was too busy. He was though able to attend a property developers’ meeting held at the same time.

      • Charlie the Chump

        More socialist claptrap, more client funded party nonsense

        • dalai guevara

          I am not funded, I am kept.

  • alexsandr

    as i said on another thread, the idea of giving our money to political parties is an appalling idea. Parties that cannot get their supporters to fund them have no right to exist. Everyone should scream from the rooftops to kill this idea stone dead.
    It would also put in a very high barrier for new parties to start so establishing the fossil of liblabcon for ever. How is that possibly healthy?

  • http://twitter.com/doktorb Liam

    Had the Labour Party not turned into a small c conservative pressure group over Lords Reform – or for that matter the AV referendum – we would not be in this position today

    Make no mistake – after 13 years of no constitutional reform at all, Labour have continued their hatred of electoral reform by defeating AV, Lords Reform (most scandalously for a party of the working people), fairer boundaries and individual registration. Labour are the real enemies here – wait until they kick up a fuss about stopping the Unions bankrolling them.

  • http://twitter.com/doktorb Liam

    Had the Labour Party not turned into a small c conservative pressure group over Lords Reform – or for that matter the AV referendum – we would not be in this position today

    Make no mistake – after 13 years of no constitutional reform at all, Labour have continued their hatred of electoral reform by defeating AV, Lords Reform (most scandalously for a party of the working people), fairer boundaries and individual registration. Labour are the real enemies here – wait until they kick up a fuss about stopping the Unions bankrolling them.

  • anyfool

    Make it a confidence vote and the Lib Dems will run through the lobby rather than face the voters.
    They will do this because they are a party without basic common cause, an amalgam of two sets of unscrupulous political prostitutes masquerading as goody two shoes to gather in the weak minded voters of whom this country has an excess.

  • anyfool

    Make it a confidence vote and the Lib Dems will run through the lobby rather than face the voters.
    They will do this because they are a party without basic common cause, an amalgam of two sets of unscrupulous political prostitutes masquerading as goody two shoes to gather in the weak minded voters of whom this country has an excess.

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