MPs, money and websites: a good mix?

Come and join the New Statesman and New Media Awards crew in the rather plush surroundings of Middle Temple to discuss: “Will MPs use their Communications Allowance effectively?”

Members of Parliament have voted to give themselves £10,000 each a year to spend on things like websites to boost "public understanding" of Parliament; but how should this be spent and can MPs be trusted to spend this money wisely?

Quite a few bloggers like Iain Dale have had their doubts but some like Paul Evans are far more positive.

Kicking off our debate we have writer, thinker and trainer David Wilcox (who has explored the issue here and here), the director of mySociety Tom Steinberg (mySociety have made this suggestion of how the money could be used) and chair of the All Party Internet Group Derek Wyatt MP. I shall do my best as chair at keeping things in order and making sure everyone has a say: including you.

When: 17 May, 6-9pm
Where: La Grande Marque, Middle Temple Lane, London EC4Y 9BT (map)

The evening is FREE, but you must register, as places are limited.
To register please email Charlotte Eisenhart:

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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