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Liberal market economies, business, and political finance: Britain under New Labour

McMenamin, Iain (2011) Liberal market economies, business, and political finance: Britain under New Labour. West European Politics, 34 (5). pp. 1021-1043. ISSN 0140-2382

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The extent and nature of business financing of parties is an important feature of political finance. Britain’s transparent and permissive regulatory system provides an excellent opportunity to study business financing of parties. Business donations have been very important to the Conservative party over the last decade, and of only marginal importance to Labour. Unlike other Conservative contributors, business donors are more likely to contribute when the party is popular. In contrast to the previous period of Conservative government, the biggest British businesses tended to abstain from political finance under New Labour. However, their bias towards the Conservatives is affected by the party’s popularity and the closeness of an election. Britain shares the political importance of business financing of parties and its mixture of ideological and pragmatic motivations with other liberal market economies. However, in Britain the bias towards the right is much stronger and the role of big business more marginal.

Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Britain; political finance; business-government relations; interest groups
Subjects:Social Sciences > Public administration
Social Sciences > Political science
DCU Faculties and Centres:Research Initiatives and Centres > Centre for International Studies (CIS)
DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Law and Government
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Official URL:
Copyright Information:This is an electronic version of an article published in West European Politics vol.34 no.5 West European Politics is available online at:
Funders:Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, DCU
ID Code:16545
Deposited On:06 Sep 2011 11:46 by Iain McMenamin. Last Modified 11 Sep 2012 04:02

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