Nick Clegg gives a speech on International Development at The Village Hall in Hoxton Square on May 28, 2014. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Lord Oakeshott accuses the Lib Dems of "cash-for-peerages"

Lib Dem peer says his efforts to "expose and end cash-for-peerages in all parties, including our own" have failed.

Having had time to digest Lord Oakeshott's resignation statement, it turns out to have been even more revelatory than first thought. In the final paragraph, the Lib Dem peer accuses his party and others of selling places in the Lords. He said:

When Charles Kennedy rang to make me a peer, from a panel elected by the party, fourteen years ago he said he wanted me to shake up the Lords. I’ve tried - my bills to ban non-dom peers are now law – but my efforts to expose and end cash for peerages in all parties, including our own, and help get the Lords elected have failed.

Of note, then, is that Nick Clegg last year ennobled Ministry of Sound owner James Palumbo after he donated more than £500,000 to the party over nine years. Oakeshott responded at the time by declaring that "Cash-for-peerages pollutes parliament and the political parties that collude in this corruption."

If Oakeshott has evidence that the party has committed the criminal offence of selling peerages, it is hard to see why, as in the case of the original affair, there should not be a police investigation.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.