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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 April 2006, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Leadership aspirations?
On Sunday 09 April 2006, Andrew Marr interviewed Alan Milburn MP

Please note "BBC Sunday AM" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

ANDREW MARR: Just flicking back to the politics briefly, all this loan stuff, Alan, has caused your party a lot of trouble.

Did you know about any of these loans, I mean you were the man spending the money at the time.

You were in charge at the time, weren't you.

ALAN MILBURN: I was told in the middle of the campaign that the party had taken a lot out, I didn't know whether they were from my, my concern was more about spending money frankly, than raising it. And, look it has been a difficult issue and an unfortunate once.

And it might have been better in retrospect if, you know, we changed the law back in the year 2000. But we didn't, and I have to say that, you know, on this issue political campaigning has to be paid for.

ALAN MILBURN: Somebody has to pay for it and I think we're fast getting to the position given all the furore about it, where people who are, want to support political parties, will feel less inclined to do so because their reputations get clobbered.

People are saying that we don't want anything to do with the Trade Unions and frankly the Trade unions are able to give less because they've got less money to give. So in that situation step forward the taxpayer. Now lots of taxpayers will say actually we don't want to pay for it either. So if you want democracy it costs.

GILES BRANDRETH The phrase is purer than pure wasn't it.

ANDREW MARR: That wasn't a good phrase in retrospect. But you knew about them but you didn't know who they were for, and that kind of stuff. And in retrospect you'd say actually this loans thing was a bad idea wasn't it?

ALAN MILBURN: I think it would have been better in retrospect but retrospect and hindsight is always easy in politics as in life. It would have been better at the time if we'd passed the political parties Act in 2000 was it, or 2001, to have dealt with the issue of loans just as we dealt with the issue of foreign donations.

So, of course, but as I say, I didn't have very many people actually coming to me during the election campaign saying, actually could you spend a little less money. People wanted rather more money. So you've got to raise the money from somewhere.


NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy

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