Oral Answers to Questions — Companies (Political Contributions)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th May 1965.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Ken Lomas Mr Ken Lomas , Huddersfield West 12:00 am, 4th May 1965

asked the Prime Minister when he will introduce legislation to compel political parties to disclose their source of income.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Legislation to require companies to disclose their political contributions will be introduced as soon as practicable.

Photo of Mr Ken Lomas Mr Ken Lomas , Huddersfield West

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, but I hope that he is aware that hon. Members on this side of the House are looking forward, as the whole nation must be, to discovering the names and details of the paymasters of the Tory Party.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I do not know that that is the attitude in which we approach these things. I am sure that now that they have had time to think and to form their secret working groups on policy, even right hon. Gentlemen opposite will probably agree that not only this desirable reform but voluntary action on their part to publish their party accounts would do more than anything else in their power to clean up British politics.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

Is the Prime Minister aware that from the point of view not only of political parties but public companies it is desirable that shareholders should know what they do with their profits and funds? Is he aware that his Answer will have considerable support from this side of the House, so long as he takes action quickly?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

The right hon. Gentleman will have noted that while the Question asked me about legislation to compel political parties to disclose their source of income, my Answer referred to public companies disclosing their political contributions—because that was the pledge that we gave in the Gracious Speech at the beginning of this Session. We said that we would introduce legislation on those lines. We shall do it as quickly as practicable, and I am glad that we shall have the support of the right hon. Gentleman. I am sure that we shall have the support of the Leader of the Opposition, as well.