« Who will be the first politician to tell the truth about Britain's public finances? | Main | Cameron calls for bank bonuses to be limited to £2,000 and contracts ripped up if necessary »


It is the last thing we want to spend money on ever. If there is extra money avaialable in the Treasury it should go back to tax payers before it goes to political parties.

If political parties cannot raise funding from their supporteres they clearly serve no useful purpose and should not be maintained by the state.

Look, Cameron was the person who proposed the nationalisation of political parties with the extension to state funding and this statement is as carefully crafted to confuse as Osborne's 'opposition' to the ban on Wilders.

What we want is parties that have, as a matter of course, to engage massively with people in order to win support and win donations at the same time.

But what we have (or at least, what you have, because I'm in Australia) is a Conservative Party whose leadership hardly bothers to conceal its contempt for the opinions of its own membership, never mind the public at large. It's become clear that the only reason - the ONLY reason - people at the top of the Tory Party pay any attention at all to anybody who doesn't attend their dinner parties is that if they don't they won't win votes and therefore won't get into power. And it took three election defeats for these intellectual giants even to get that far.

"It did demonstrate, and perhaps surprised some people, that the Conservative Party cared so much about civil liberties, but we do."

As David Davis took the extraordinary step of resigning in order to fight a by-election and get himself re-elected, clearly he felt that something extraordinary was required.

Why should that be?

Because he's an idiot?

Or because he could see what many others could see - that the Conservative Party was not demonstrating any real commitment to defending our civil liberties, or indeed defending any other part of our constitution?

Now we have the situation where members of the legislative branch, parliamentarians, organise a meeting within the precincts of Parliament, and a member of the executive branch, a Minister of the Crown, abuses powers previously granted to her by Parliament, and acts to prevent that meeting taking place.

One might expect parliamentarians to be queuing up to protest that this looks very much like an attack on freedom of speech within Parliament, and an infringement of Parliamentary privilege, and therefore these events should be investigated by a Parliamentary committee, preferably a joint committee of both Houses, and both Jacqui Smith and Lord Ahmed should be summoned as witnesses to explain themselves.

Nothing of the sort, of course.

A large majority of parliamentarians in both Houses are now self-seeking placemen who have no respect for the Parliament of which they are members, because they have no respect for the people whose Parliament it is; and they have no respect for, or even understanding of, our civil liberties or our constitution; and most of the exceptions who do understand and care about those things are too weak to stand up to the executive.

Wilders being Dutch, Wilders being an elected representative, Wilders holding views which some find obnoxious - these are all matters of secondary importance.

The Home Secretary abusing her powers to suppress freedom of speech within our Parliament - that is the primary, constitutional, issue.

What does it say in the Bill of Rights 1688, which is still on the statute book and in legal force:


"That the Freedome of Speech and Debates or Proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any Court or Place out of Parlyament."

which includes in the Home Office, a "Place out of Parlyament".

And no doubt the Home Secretary has other powers which she could abuse to prevent anyone else travelling to and entering the Parliament buildings, even members of that Parliament, and who can say that won't be the next stage?

So what has the Conservative Party to say about this infringement of Parliamentary privilege, this attempt to suppress freedom of speech even with Parliament?


Should individuals like Lords Ashcroft and Laidlaw be allowed to be far and away the major donors backing Conservative marginal seat campaigns ? If Cameron wants a cap of £50,000 on individual donations is not now the time to demonstrate that policy by refusing any donation over £50,000 in total from any one individual ?

I believe that Cameron's remarks on state funding are a real mistake and will come back to harm a future Conservative government.

Where parties get their money from is a major concern to voters and party funding stories which will inevitably emerge about the Tories will only damage politicians' standing even further.

Let's be honest: in the grand scheme of government costs, state funding would be insignificant.


the Bill of Rights 1688, which is still on the statute book and in legal force:

The Bill of Rights has no legal force whatever. All politicians, lawyers, and civil servants agree that the "rights" it is supposed to protect are entirely at the whim of the government, which can limit or even ignore them as it pleases.

If you don't believe this, try writing to the Home Office - and to the shadow Home Secretary - asking for the current understanding of the limitation based on govt action by the right to bear arms.

the Bill of Rights 1688, which is still on the statute book and in legal force:

The Bill of Rights has no legal force whatever. All politicians, lawyers, and civil servants agree that the "rights" it is supposed to protect are entirely at the whim of the government, which can limit or even ignore them as it pleases.

If you don't believe this, try writing to the Home Office - and to the shadow Home Secretary - asking for the current understanding of the limitation based on govt action by the right to bear arms.

I suggest you check the link I gave, which is to the UK Statute Law Database, "the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online."

Or, if it would be easier, go to


and look up the statutes for 1688.

That will also show you which parts have been amended or repealed; all other parts remain in legal force.

That particular article, Article IX, was actually the subject of a proposed amendment to the Bill to approve the Lisbon Treaty:


which was tabled by six Tory MPs.

Apart from the fact that Messrs Cash, Redwood, Duncan Smith, Jenkin, Shepherd and Winterton obviously believed that Article IX was still in force, the clerks would have been most unlikely to accept the amendment if that was not the case.

Could we also make economies by abolishing state aided re-election money for MPs, - the communication allowance?

State funding is an awful concept and an affront to democracy. Having said that, so is Union Funding. A cap of £50k per person or institution sounds reasonable.
If you cannot get people to fund you then you need to look at your message and, if you think it is right, then your delivery of that message.

That will also show you which parts have been amended or repealed; all other parts remain in legal force.

No, they don't. Write to the Home Office if you don't believe me. Or, try to take the govt to court. Even if you can find a lawyer to take the case (good luck) you will lose.

Attempts to invoke it in the 21st century are nothing more than gesture politics. I'm sure that the six MPs you quote know that. And the clerk.

Anon R - it may be high-minded to refuse those donations but it would be insanity for him to do so while Labour has multi-million donors like the unions on speed-dial

A trade union of hundreds of thousands of members is not an individual person, is not the equivalent of an individual person, and ought not to be treated the same as an individual person. It is the collective action of its members. Any limit on an individual should therefore be multiplied by the number of members when applied to a trade union.

Actually, I'm going to add to my last comment. I know I'm developing a bad habit this way, but this is important.

A lot of people believe that the UK is a society based on the Rule of Law, that although the authorities have great powers, those powers are nevertheless limited, that there are lines beyond which they cannot go; in particular that those lines are defined at least in part by Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights.

This is untrue.

The political classes - that combination of national politicians, civil servants, journalists and senior policemen we might justly refer to as the British Nomenklatura - long ago decided that there should be no limit to govt power, because it suited them that way. The result is that the govt and its favourites can do what they like. No state organ will limit them, and the ordinary citizen has no effective means of recourse. There are, for example, stringent laws regarding the ownership of firearms, and yet the IRA is exempt. There are laws against fraud, and yet MPs get away with expense claims that would see anyone else at the very least sacked. There is a law against murder, and yet the police can, and do, shoot innocent people dead in public without penalty. And the deceit that is practised to justify all this - deceit that at one point would have seen the destruction of the career of the MP or official that promulgated it - grows yearly more brazen.

Even politicians in opposition have in the past accepted this, since on the one hand the resulting abuses did not affect them personally, whilst on the other, they believed that the electoral wheel would one day turn and bring them back into power, and the meanwhile there were still plenty of perks to keep them happy.

History shows, though, that those who pay even lip service to freedom and democracy are in deadly peril in such a culture. The monster of tyranny, once unshackled, cannot actually be controlled, only fought and destroyed. You cannot forever have just the plebs as victims. A de facto one-party state, sooner or later and probably sooner, turns into a real one.

The challenge for the Conservative Party now is acute, and the economy actually the least of its worries. They thought they were in a cosy, back-scratching arrangement with people who (for all their faults) thought like them and were still fundamentally Decent Chaps. They aren't. They're dealing with people who think only of their own power, and who will destroy them if they can, ruthlessly and totally.

The ONLY way to stop this is to rediscover the commitment to principle, to truth, freedom, liberty, and the supremacy of the Citizen over the State. It will involve pain and sacrifice. Cameron and his team will have face up to a lot of things that they have never wanted to, and try to re-educate a people that has spent decades growing accustomed to slavery. They will have to spend years dismantling and rebuilding govt in Britain, all the while fighting ferocious, ruthless and utterly unscrupulous resistance from those who stand to lose their wealth and power. Are they up to it? Do they even understand the need? You'd all better hope they are and do.

Clause 61 Magna Carta was invoked not too long ago by four Lords, and the people are also in the process of using it once more and especially if Lisbon comes in of course.

No new written constitution can be entrenched or dislodge Magna Carta and the Declaration and Bill of Rights 1688/1689. The Government's own Research Paper (96/82 dated 18th July 1996-available direct from Parliament, page 36) makes that clear. A snippet here for you

"Again, the theory of sovereignty means that no Parliament can bind its successors, and this inability of Parliament to prevent any law from being later altered or repealed by a Parliament means that, in principle, no scheme of constitutional change-Bill of Rights, devolution, even, perhaps a (NEW) written constitution itself* - can be entrenched - made secure against any or easy amendment or repeal-in the legal order. The recent schemes by proponents of Scottish devolution and some form of a Bill of Rights demonstrate how difficult (perhaps impossible) it is to reconcile formal, legal entrenchment (as opposed to 'political-moral' entrenchment) with conventional sovereignty".

Magna Carta of course is a Treaty between the people and the Crown and Parliament may not alter it. See also the people's Declaration and Bill of Rights 1688/9. To get round this however, the Government believe they have come across the one thing that would get over the obstacle that is in their way. Give the people a referendum whether they want, for the very first time a Constitution written especially for them, the people of this Country which will include a new Bill of Rights Ah yes, AND DUTIES. The people will not have DUTIES. It is the PEOPLE that vote and pay the MP's and it is the MP's that have duties, to see to and at the moment they are not doing them very well. People only do Duties when their Country is in danger of being taken over by foreigners, or a foolish Government signs a Treaty giving most of the governing of it to foreigners. Can the people ever trust a British Government over a matter like this?

Magna Carta is a TREATY between the people and the Crown; this is why Parliament has to get the people themselves to agree to 'do away with it.' Ah yes, by stealth probably, without telling the people why. Isn't THAT why the people will get a referendum on a new Bill of Rights when the were denied one on the very constitutional Treaty of Lisbon?

Can it be altered in any way or repealed at the moment by government? For a recent quote, I quote the late Lord Renton when he said (Lords Hansard 20th July 2000) My Lords, before the noble Earl sits down, perhaps I may mention one point in relation to his fascinating speech. He suggests that we should amend Magna Carta. We cannot do that. Magna Carta was formulated before we ever had a Parliament. All that we can do is to amend that legislation which, in later years when we did have a Parliament, implemented Magna Carta.”

Earl Russell replied,” My Lords, the Noble Lord is of course correct in relation to present legislation. However, 17th century Parliaments treated Magna Carta, in its 1229 version, as being an Act of Parliament. I spoke loosely and I hope that the Noble Lord will forgive me.”

For those that tell me that there are only four clauses left, I have over one hundred recent quotes from Hansard where arguments have been won or lost as the case may be, from Clauses that have been allegedly repealed. I would argue that one couldn’t win arguments by using a quote that has ‘been repealed’. The Law Lords also used Article 61 not too long ago (Nice?)-an article allegedly that had been repealed.

David - then why not have the union NOT donate, but encourage all the members to contribute individually?

Perhaps we should refer to the so called rule of law; its applcation seems so arbitrary to negate any real meaning. The law today seems to be what the new establishment wish it to be.

Labour Councillor David Boothroyd attempts to make Trade Union funding a special case by trotting out ‘the Party line’ that it’s really just individual donations! But these Trade Unions are set up as a individual entities – with their own names – and most importantly with paid officials – paid for by these Trade Union ‘subs’ – and these officials speak for their members as one entity.

LOL how Labour Party members like to ignore their own history – when it suits them! The facts are that the Labour Party was set up by the Trade Union Movement to act as their political representatives in Parliament, and they FUNDED Labour Party candidates – and continue to FUND a lot of Labour Party MPs today.

Considering the whole raison d’etre of the Labour Party is to be the political representation of the Trade Union Movement [and check out the soaring power of the Trade Unions – behind the scenes – post -1945], I wonder why they didn’t call themselves the Political Arm of the Trade Union Movement?!

I was overexcited when David Davis made his resignation speech on BBC News 24. It was a great speech and it showed that he understood what was wrong with the country and was sincerely concerned at the behaviour of a despicably stupid government. For a lot of the public it was great to see someone genuinely understand what's going wrong in this country and to fight it.

Resigning to fight a by-election was eccentric and showed disloyalty to David Cameron, and I didn't understand David Cameron's decision at first, but as the leader of the Conservatives he must demand loyalty from his members of parliament. Looking back, a tough situation was thrown at David Cameron and he handled it with wise and good judgement. Just like when Brown threatened the Conservatives with a general election, David Cameron proved that he can deal with a challenge. Contrast this with Gordon Brown. In my opinion that is the kind of bravery that can win us a war or help us to survive an economic depression.

BBC journalist Nick Robinson brought up the idea that there could be tensions between David Cameron and David Davis over the leadership election and the future of the party and who couldn't forgive David Davis for feeling emotion over losing his leadership bid? David Cameron has revived the party and attracted youthful people to Conservative ideas and he's been a great leader at dealing with his party's issues so far. I'm interested and I want to see what happens next.

Politicians and journalists out there like David Davis, Peter Hitchens, and the U.K. independence party are intelligent people who honestly state what they think is wrong with Great Britain and how to repair it. They are too eccentric in many ways to be the leader of the country, but that doesn't matter because we have a good leader already in David Cameron. The right thing to do is to listen to the eccentrics and where they are right and true we should accept those good ideas filtered through wise leadership, because what the public truly care about is making the country good so we can enjoy our lives and entrust the future to our children without having to worry too much.

What I truly hope is that David Cameron will be brave and sensible on issues such as civil liberties, immigration, and Europe once the time comes to deal with them. I worry that deep down these issues are only cared about for show to win votes and once in power we could be as disgusted with the Conservatives as we presently are with New Labour. I think it was Daniel Hannan who wrote on his blog that politicians who claim to be anti-EU before gaining power nearly act in a pro-EU way once they are in power. That is disgustingly dishonest and I worry that the Conservatives will become less than brave once they achieve power again.

People talk about the rise of India and China and that Britain is in decline, but I pray that the leadership can bravely handle the challenges facing us and we can remain a prosperous, brilliant country.

in regards to law, we have common law.
it gives us more rights that cannot be taken away than any rights granted by a/the state.

the state of this country is ridiculous and the open treason that has been committed over the last thirty years gets blatantly ignored.

state funding of political parties is nothing but theft, this is the same with state funded "charities"
income tax was a war time measure with the promise of it's repeal after the war, guess what, they liked legal theft that much they continued it.

when the UK finaly wakes up to the fact that they are being lied to, robbed and enslaved by "the state" then we will start to move towards democracy once again.
until then, as has already been mentioned, various politicians will try to persuade the people to give away their rights/liberties.

you can go down in history dave as someone who stood up for the people of britain, or as someone who helped sell his countrymen (and queen) down the river.
and before anyone has a pop at the monarchy, remeber, that whilst we are subjects (not citizens) that we still retain our common law, magna carta and bill of rights 1689.
as soon as we agree to become citizens we openly agree to becoming nothing more than property of the state (sounds crazy but it's true!)

State funding is provided for approved political parties only - and who approves these parties?
Go figure.

State funding is provided for approved political parties only - and who approves these parties?
Go figure.

Delighted that DC has appeared to rule out State funding for the forseable. It was an awful idea in the first place and would I think have been a self defeating measure for both main parties.
It will be hard indeed for Cameron to ever backtrack on this.

Alex Swanson, what you wrote @ 15:40 is rather illogical.

If the Home Office has been telling people that the Bill of Rights is dead, they're wrong.

It isn't for Her Majesty's Government to decide what is or isn't law, or to decide that it shall ignore a law.

Indeed that was precisely the object of the first two articles of the Bill of Rights, that laws should not be made or dispensed with or suspended by royal authority without the consent of parliament.

The government, Her Majesty's Government, is the executive branch, while the Crown in Parliament is the legislative branch.

As far as the courts are concerned, as in his "Metric Martyrs" judgement Lord Justice Laws specifically mentioned the Bill of Rights as a member of his family of "constitutional statutes", it seems that he doesn't share the view that it's a dead letter.

Moreover there's been at least one case since then where a part of the Bill of Rights has been cited, and the judge didn't say that it was dead, simply that he didn't accept the applicant's interpretation of that passage:


"But this is not a fine or forfeiture within the meaning of the Bill of Rights".

As far as going to court with a case based on Article IX, as far as I know that hasn't been done, and it's quite difficult to see under what circumstances such a case could possibly succeed.

Surely the judge would immediately say that if Article IX was being infringed, then under Article IX itself that was a matter for Parliament, not for the courts, and add that as Parliament is the supreme legal authority for the UK then it should have the power to secure its own rights and privileges against any attack by the executive branch.

This is what is boils down to: notionally we are a parliamentary democracy, as established through the Bill of Rights, the relevant parts of which are still in legal force; but apparently only a small minority of the present generation of parliamentarians actually believe in parliamentary democracy, or are interested in defending their/our Parliament, or in affirming its legal supremacy, or in protecting its privileges - beyond the "snout-in-trough" variety of privileges.

And, sad to say, I don't see that changing after the next general election.

No, not the last thing.
It must not even appear on the list in any position.

Is David Cameron willing to give his party's current taxpayer subsidy, the "Short" money? Surely Ashcroft could afford some more dosh for the Tories to save the taxpayer a few million quid!!

The Conservative Party has one very big choice to make and before the next election. It has to decide whether IT wants to govern this Country or whether they want the EU to Govern it and probably forever, for the EU are planning for the next 50 years at least.

There are many people like me, that although they are not in the Conservative Party have always voted for them. Why should I do that when they want to remain in the EU, let foreigners govern yet still get paid as if they are doing the job?

More of a Credit Crunch job? We have had enough of THAT thank you.

Is there still a promise to withdraw the Treaty of Lisbon if all 27 states have not ratified it and put it before the people in a referendum? It can be done and William Hague was quite correct because it has been done before.

Leave it too late and methinks you will all have to get "A proper job".

It is good that David Davies is outside the tent, it means there will be at least one alternative if cameron fluffs it.

Cameron had done some good work pulling the party together, but he is starting to slip on reliability.

EPP? Smiths Expenses? House of Lords? Overly Green? Milking the Taxpayer?

The tories have a massive lead - they don't need to prostitute themselves to every extra minority interest - doing so just diminishes their core integrity.

Competition leads to quality and success - with out competition you get blair followed by brown...

Can any Conservative condemn any form of state funding, Short money or whatever until the massive donations to the Tory party from folk like Ashcroft and Laidlaw are seen to be from UK Taxpayers ? Is this not a case of trying to "Buy Conservative marginals" ? Is it not a case of being ready to influence parliamentary policy whilst not being full UK taxpayers ?

Its so easy to argue against state funding when in the ascendency of course. I wonder what he would have said were the positions to be reversed between him and Brown?

I dont believe his comment on not being focus group led. We know they were led by the nose at the start, especially through green policy and ther neutralisation of schools and NHS. As for using the word bullshit, I'd prefer it if he didnt use that word. He does aim to become the leader of this country... Us mere laymen can get away with it, but he should be more careful.

Lords reform for the moment should be limitedf to getting rid of the worst excesses, that led to the abuse of position by the 4 peers. What do you have to do to be found guilty???

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker