I was momentarily diverted from easily the best headline in today's Times "Hunt master 'paid for sex, checked wife's underwear and admired Hitler' " (check it out at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2399777,00.html), by news that my good friends in Darlington's LibDems may have reach deep into their pockets.
Before the last General Election, the LibDems took £2.4 million in a donation from a company which was "entireley fraudulent and had never traded" according to a High Court Judge. The company's owner Michael Brown is currently starting a two-year jail term for perjury.
The cash almost entirely paid for the LibDems' posters and advertisements during the campaign. If the Electoral Commission forces the party to surrender the gift, says the Times, "each member will be come liable for a share of the debt." I reckon that's about £35 each.
I'm not for a moment suggesting that Labour and the Tories don't have their own problems with party funding - they do. This story should however prevent another bout of moralising from the LibDems that they are somehow "whiter-than-white" when it comes to donations. The imperative now is for all the parties to agree a consensus on political funding which is transparent and which commands the respect of British voters.
The story in full can be found at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,17129-2400012,00.html