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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 30 September, 1998, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Labour funding challenge to Tories
New Labour, New Danger
The Demon Eyes campaign cost the Tories an estimated 10m alone
Labour will agree to limits on the amount political parties can spend during elections if the Conservatives follow suit.

Labour's finances are back in the black after the massive financial strains of the 1997 general election campaign which saw the party run up a 4.5m overdraft.

The challenge to the Tories came from Labour Party treasurer Margaret Prosser, who said: "We will add further restrictions on our financing, provided that you will do likewise for the Conservatives."

She admitted Labour had been left in "financial intensive care" after attempting to match the Tories' election spending of 28m.

Election costs keep rises

Speaking to delegates in Blackpool she said: "In the last 10 years, the cost of electioneering has risen dangerously.

"The 1997 election cost four times as much as the 1987 election - and the Conservatives have always used their financial resources at election time."

Ms Prosser's remarks precede the publication in October of the report by the Neill Committee on Standards in Public Life, which may recommend changing the way political parties are funded.

As well as examining spending limits during elections, the committee could recommend that the names of donors who contribute more than 1,000 to political parties should be published.

At present Labour publishes the names of those who contribute more 5,000 or more but not the amount they give.


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