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The last Tory accounts show the party already had significant loans in 2004 and was not paying commercial rates on an average of £6.8m of loans.

That's somewhat misleading as the majority of loans held by the party are actually drawn down from the constituencies, and thus not at commercial rates.

A commercial loan will consist of a written contract that includes:

1: A rate of interest (fixed or float)
2: A fixed repayment schedule or period
3: The repayment principal amount
4: Details of any variation in these terms 1-3 (e.g. to allow for period extensions etc).

It would take all of five minutes to take these loan agreements out of the file, photocopy them, then send them to the electoral commission.

No commercial loan would exist without such an agreement, and I am sure they Electoral Commission will be thorough and demand to see them to determine what were real commercial loans and what were donations to end this once and for all.

I wonder who applied the pressure for the investigation to be widened? Would that be the Labour party.

The Labour party continue to use Government as a means to electoral victory rather than use electoral victory as a means to Govern.

I'm sure most people will just be pleased to get it all out in the open for all parties Chris, so we can finally draw a line under the affair and move on.

wonder who applied the pressure for the investigation to be widened?

Incredible as it may seem I think it was a Labour MP who complained to the police that she thought an ofence had been commited - these people really have no shame!

I'm just glad this non-story can all now come out and attention can be focussed on the goings on in Downing street. I want to know what Ruth Turner and Jonathan Powell have been up to and whether taxpayer's have paid for them to solicit funds for the Labour Party.

I don't see a problem with rich people giving money to parties, Chad, even if it is under the pretense of loans. The situation is ridiculous.

Anyone want to start a secret campaign in the party to abolish the BBC once elected? Obviously we can't say so openly for tactical reasons. But nothing would make me happier (alright, scrapping the ID card bill would make me happier, oh and if Keith and I are elected in the *victoria* ward of Hackney on May4th I guess I'll be even happier, just a small plug Mr Ed) if week 1 of the next Conservative government announced that the licence fee was to be scrapped, and all those labour party apparatchiks we pay for - from the blatant "we the government" of the Naughties to the de haut en bas leftist worldview of the Stourtons - were suddenly forced to solicit a market in order to get paid.

Sometimes I can cope with the leftists on Today but every so often they make me howl with anger. Listening to Today recently and watching that Michael "rhymes with" Crick at his snivelling liberal worst makes me hungry for some taxpayer justice. None of the obvious questions about this corrupt government are asked.

don't see a problem with rich people giving money to parties, Chad, even if it is under the pretense of loans.

It is illegal though Chris, as far as I understand. You may not have an issue with that, but you can't advocate openly illegal practices within the party and expect the public to trust you.

The problem is Chad, this "investigation" is no longer about the legality of the loans, but whether people should be able to give sums of money to parties at all.

On the subject of the BBC, I agree totally with Graeme Archer. I gave up watching the BBC seriously several years ago, apart that is from University Challenge, This Week and 'Wake the Dead'! Whenever I try to change my mind and watch something which seems interesting, I find the often patronising youf bias incredibly boring, and EVERY single programme seems to have to have politically correct attitudes and opinions expressed in it, and thats on top of the stock Labour bias!

No, the investigation is about illegality, which is why the police are undertaking it.

However, I do agree with you about allowing the rich to make donations like any other, but I do also support a cap to encourage efforts to reingage at the grassroots to get a wider bases of small donors.

However, I am 100% against the use of state funding as a means of going hand in hand with caps. If that is how the parties continue to believe, then with the agreed changes to delare all future loans, we should leave things how they are as that would serve both transparency and stop the taxpayer being robbed.

"No, the investigation is about illegality, which is why the police are undertaking it." - Chad

Technically, yes, the investigation by Scotland yard and the electoral commission is about legality, however, the media (and Labour) on the other hand have changed the context to whether this should now mean state-funding of political parties and reform of the House Of Lords.

I would say the media (particularly The Times - well done) have been the only ones daring to criticise state funding of political parties, as with the big 3 all in favour, and the Tories even setting our their own state funding proposals, we needed someone to stand in the corner of the 76% of the population (Electoral Commission figures) who oppose the whole idea of state funding.

UKIP oppose state funding, but won't give me an assurance that they will actually reject the filthy money if offered to them, and unfortunately, my one-man-band is too small a voice to make any real difference.

On this issue of state funding, the Tories are 100% in support; it is the media who have opposed it.

How can we use tax payers money to fund adverts criticising the present tax burden? Short money is for running as a parliamentary opposition, not campaigning as a national political party.

Sorry to multiple post. I think Cameron has handled this whole thing really well. He has not allowed CCHQ to be bounced into anything by a hysterical media. The party doesn't really have any questions to answer now, unlike Labour.

Hysterical? Its about funding of political parties. I dont think having a concern about it is "hysterical". Cameron has fudged it up by not being completely honest from the start. There are still questions. He has not dealt with it. Im not impressed by his leadership on this issue at all. The issue was supposed to be about Labour but ended up backfiring and ended up being a question of the Conservatives and its finances.

All three major parties love state funding---why cold call for funds when johnny taxpayer foots the bill---and so will push for this.We'll have to wait two years for policy committees to reveal policies but remarkably EU educated Andrew Tyrie sprung from Chichester with a complete adopted policy.Once this is fully on the agenda then Pan-EU parties will suddenly drop into view.Like the EPP peut-etre? Game set and match as Lord Levy might say to Tony.

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