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Lib Dems seek to keep subsidies
1:17am Thursday 20th May 2010
The Liberal Democrats could continue getting taxpayer subsidies for opposition parties despite entering government, it has been revealed.
The party is "making the case" that it should keep receiving so-called 'short money' to fund research and administration.
The Lib Dems banked more than £1.7 million from the taxpayer to help fund its activities in 2009-10.
But under current rules, it will now lose that money as it has access to the resources of the civil service.
Norman Lamb, Nick Clegg's political adviser, told the BBC's Newsnight that "discussions" were ongoing over maintaining the funding.
He pointed out that as the minority coalition partner the Lib Dems did not have ministers in every department, and would still need to develop policy.
"Is it really so bad that a party in parliament should have research back up?" the MP said.
"There is a discussion taking place. I just make the case that I just don't think it's so seriously wrong. There is a good case to be made."
Mr Lamb said the Lib Dems were seeking to reduce the cost of government in "very many" other ways, such as cutting the number of MPs.
"This is about ensuring we have the proper research back up so good decisions can be made," he added.