Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 12:00AM

Party Finance and the Constitution

Professor Vernon Bogdanor FBA CBE

Professor Vernon Bogdanor argued that 'Too high a proportion of the money funding British political parties is tainted' that 'The finance of our great political parties should not have to depend upon the vagaries of the rich' and that 'Democracy cannot be sustained by handouts from millionaires'.

He proposed a system of state aid which matches membership subscriptions so that, for each £20 raised by a party, the state will contribute a further £20. There would be a tight limit on individual donations.

Such a system would both combat apathy and increase democratic participation. At present, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has more members than all of the parties put together. By encouraging the parties to seek new members, the system would greatly improve the health of our democracy.

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Vernon Bogdanor CBE is Emeritus Gresham Professor of Law, current Visiting Gresham Professor of Political History, Research Professor at King's College London, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Prior to 2010, Professor Bogdanor Fellow of Brasenose College, is Professor of Government at Oxford University.

He has been an adviser to a number of governments, including those of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Israel and Slovakia. His books include The People and the Party System, Multi-Party Politics and the Constitution, Power and the People, and Devolution in the United Kingdom. He is a frequent contributor to TV, radio and the press and is a sometime special advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities (1982-83), and the House of Commons Public Service Committee. Most recently he was awarded the Sir Isaiah Berlin prize for Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies by the Political Studies Association.

Professor Bogdanor continues his Gresham lectures with a new series for the 2015/16 academic year entitled Political Crises Since 1945.

Professor Bogdanor's previous lecture series' are as follows:

2014/15 Six General Elections
2013/14 Britain and Europe
2012/13 Making the Weather: Six Politicians Who Shaped Our Age
2010/12 Britain in the 20th Century
2007/09 From Roosevelt to Bush: The American Presidency: Transformation and Change

All of Professor Bogdanor's past Gresham lectures can be accessed here.

Current Gresham Professor of Political History

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28 March 2006

Party Finance and the Constitution
Professor Vernon Bogdanor FBA CBE

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