Nick: Labour and Tories stand for ‘corrupt politics’

by Stephen Tall on January 6, 2010

In his hardest-hitting attack yet on the Labour and Tory parties, Nick Clegg has used an interview for BBC News’s Hard Talk programme to denounce both parties for colluding in ‘corrupt politics’. You can watch a three-minute clip from the programme here, in which Nick discusses Afghanistan.

The Guardian reports Nick’s comments here:

Clegg uses an interview today on the BBC’s Hard Talk programme to publish a list of “progressive” policies Labour and the Tories have blocked. He says: “A vote for Labour or the Conservatives is a vote for corrupt politics. A vote for Labour or the Conservatives is a vote for tax dodgers in politics. A vote for letting guilty MPs off the hook. A vote for an unfair voting system.”

Here’s the party’s evidence for Nick’s verdict:

Labour Party

Labour promised to clean up politics and make it fair but they failed. They wouldn’t even push through reform after the expenses scandal. They went back on their promise to change the voting system. They failed to make the House of Lords elected and accountable to voters. They failed to clean up party funding because they rely on the unions. And they blocked attempts to give people the right to sack corrupt MPs. Labour will never change the political system.

Three specific examples:

  • What Labour said … My Government will also publish draft legislation on proposals for a reformed second chamber of Parliament with a democratic mandate. (Queen’s Speech – 18th November 2009) We will set out proposals to complete Lords reform by bringing forward a draft Bill for a smaller and democratically constituted second Chamber. (Building Britain’s Future – 29th June 2009)
    What Labour did … No progress. There has been an agreed statement of government policy on this – with cross-party consensus – since July 2008. Ministers have promised draft clauses for scrutiny at least four times but published nothing.
  • What Labour said … We must consider whether we should offer stronger, clearly defined powers to local Government and city-regions and strengthen their accountability to local people. (Constitutional Renewal statement – 10th June 2009)
    What Labour did … No progress
  • What Labour said … We’re for the right of recall of Members of Parliament who commit fraud. (Andrew Marr Show – 3rd January 2010)
    What Labour did … No progress. Labour peers voted down an amendment that would do just that in the Political Parties and Elections Bill. And the government did not include it in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill.
  • Conservative Party

    The Conservatives cannot be trusted to clean up the political system and make it fair. David Cameron talks about change, but none of the Conservative MPs who avoided Capital Gains Tax or made huge profits flipping their homes were forced to resign. He promised to give people the right to sack corrupt MPs but then the Conservatives voted against a law that would do just that. They have made it clear they will block attempts to make the voting system fair. They walked out on cross-party talks on party funding and refused to cap donations. They will not even say if top donor, Lord Ashcroft, pays tax in this country. The Conservative Party are not interested in real change. They are interested in protecting their own interests.

    Three specific examples:

  • What the Tories said … Party funding is in a mess (Statement, 4 April 2006)
    What the Tories did … No progress. Walked out of party funding negotiations under Hayden Philips. Allows top donor Lord Ashcroft to keep his tax status in the dark, refusing to say if he pays full British taxes. Supported top candidate Zac Goldsmith who avoided nearly £6m in tax by being a non-dom.
  • What the Tories said … We do need a new politics in this country. We do need sweeping reform (Fixing Broken Politics, May 26 2009)
    What the Tories did … No progress. Continues to oppose central measure that will change politics: electoral reform.
  • What the Tories said … A Conservative Government will seriously consider the option of fixed term Parliaments when there is a majority government (Fixing Broken Politics, May 26 2009)
    What the Tories did … No progress. Opposed Liberal Democrat proposals to introduce fixed term Parliaments in Political Parties and Elections Bill.
  • The full interview with Nick Clegg MP is broadcast on Wednesday, 6th January:

  • BBC World News: 0430, 0930, 1430, 1830, 2130 and 2330 GMT.
  • BBC News Channel: 0230, 0430 and 2330 GMT.