Thursday, 13 December 2007
Political Funding - A Blast from the past
The Chief Whip in the House of Commons was also once known as the Patronage Secretary. For many years the Chief Whip had charge of money paid from the Consolidated Fund for 'secret service'. No account of the monies was required. It originally began as a fund to use at critical times to purchase confidential information respecting intrigues or enterprises hostile to England.
In the Nineteenth Century the money was used to cover the routine expenses of the Chief Whip's office. A sum of £10,000 was paid to the Patronage Secretary in four quarterly payments. Sometimes all the money was used, more often a huge surplus was allowed to accumulate. There were accusations that the Liberal Chief Whip, Arnold Morley, had used the fund to pay election expenses of some of the candidates in the 1886 General Election.
As a result of the row, the incoming Tory administration abolished 'secret service money'