Nick Clegg cuts to the chase on party funding

Lib Dem leader condemns the other two big parties and calls for a new deal.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, has just managed to exploit funding issues for both Labour and the Conservatives with a call for a new deal on state funding for political parties at PMQs today.

After a lively tit-for-tat between David Cameron and Gordon Brown over the Unite union, which helps fund Labour, and the non-dom Tory donor Michael Ashcroft, Clegg pointed to and condemned both parties, claiming they had blocked a deal for state funding for parties, which many agree is the cleanest and most comprehensive way to "clean up politics".

In a sign of the flirtations to come between now and an election that may result in a hung parliament, Brown claimed that Labour and "the Liberals" actually "agree" about this. Clegg in return described this as "rewriting history".

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.