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Justice secretary Jack Straw has said that plans to reform political party funding practices must not take place on a partisan basis.

In an interview with ahead of the second reading of the Political Parties and Elections Bill today, Straw said that it was "crucially important that you should try to reform party funding on a consensual basis".

He said that "it must not be about scoring points or worsting your opponents", warning that doing so "undermines the public's confidence in politics".

The Bill sets out new regulations aimed at increasing the transparency of donations to political parties and gives the Electoral Commission more investigatory powers.

"There are two sets of changes one is for greater transparency so that unincorporated associations can't be used to make opaque the source of donations," Straw explained.

And under plans set out in June's white paper, aimed at limiting spending outside of an election period, a candidate's election expenses would be capped at 12,000 until the party "triggered" their official nomination.

The Electoral Commission would be given a new role to provide guidance as to when a candidacy had been "triggered".

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act had been agreed on an all party basis in 2000, Straw said.

"I refused to operate on a partisan basis and although there are going to be arguments we're trying to get to a place where we can agree," he added.

20 October 2008

 Last updated: 20/10/2008 10:45:00

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