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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2006, 18:02 GMT
Ashcroft remark 'not Tory policy'
Lord Ashcroft
Lord Ashcroft said funding caps were 'barmy'
The Conservative Party has distanced itself from remarks made by its deputy chairman about political party funding.

Lord Ashcroft, a major Tory donor, told peers that moves towards state funding were "nonsense".

He added that parties should not be allowed to "poke their little fingers" further into the public purse.

But a Tory spokesman said this was Lord Ashcroft's personal opinion and that party leader David Cameron had made his position clear.

'Leave to public'

During a Lords debate Lord Ashcroft also appeared to disagree with the Conservative policy of a 50,000 cap on donations.

He argued that parties should be able to take money from "any quarter" and that "barmy" restrictions should be resisted.

Lord Ashcroft said hoped that donations from Colombian drug barons, Triads, porn kings and the mob would be considered unacceptable.

If the parties decided otherwise, then it should be left to the public, political supporters and the media to judge.

An inquiry, run by the former senior civil servant Sir Hayden Phillips, has published a list of suggestions for the future of party funding.

These include more state funding for parties, to ensure less reliance on big donors.

Party funding options published
19 Oct 06 |  Politics
Q&A: Political party funding
19 Oct 06 |  Politics

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