Tories defeated over party funding in the House of Lords

A Liberal Democrat news release brings the story:

The Government have been defeated in the Lords as peers voted on a motion to halt Tory attempts to manipulate the rules on party funding in their favour.

In the biggest defeat since the election the Government were defeated by a majority of 93 (327 to 234).

The motion was drafted by Lord (Paul) Tyler and was tabled in the name of Baroness Smith of Basildon, Leader of the Labour peers.

The vote means that the part of the Trade Union Bill relating to party funding has been separated out and will now be considered by a cross-party House of Lords committee. The main objection to this part of the bill was that it would change the rules on how trade unions can support the Labour Party without touching any of the other problems with the current party funding rules.

In principle, I’m in favour of moving to opt-in from opt-out, as people should not be assumed to support a particular political cause which may in fact be counter to their own beliefs. But it’s wrong to address that on its own as that would simply be to hurt Labour without addressing the problems with party funding rules which help the Tories.

Paul Tyler, Liberal Democrat Political Reform Spokesperson, said:

The Lords have stopped the Government from getting away with this blatant manipulation of the rules in their favour.

The Tories must not be given a free ride to remould our democracy in their favour and today we have shown that we will stand in their way.

The Lib Dems will continue to stand up to any attempts to rig the political system and we will continue to ensure that the Government is opposed whenever it puts party advantage ahead of the public interest.

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