My Conservative opponent is now attacking the Lib Dems for taking Non Dom money! Well I suppose attack is the best method of defense! According to him we have taken £680,000 over the past 6 years from people not resident in the UK for tax purposes.
I'm afraid it does somewhat pale into comparison with the £6,779,076.33 the Tories have recieved from Lord Ashcroft alone (http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/mar/01/lord-ashcroft-non-domicile-donors-conservatives-labour). None of our parties non dom donors have major roles in the parties campaign, unlike Lord Ashcroft, and we have proposed a number of measures to tax non dom residents more heavily, ie the mansion tax (a tax on properties worth more than £2m). No one is perfect but I do think the Liberal Democrats have come out of the whole depressing recent expenses and funding revelations better than either of the Labservative parties
He is very proud that his campaign recieves no support from Conservative Central Office. This is surely because, like anyone who knows Blaydon well, they realise that this is a two horse race between myself and Labour and that voting Conservative only helps Labour stay in power.
He has asked me if I am funded by Non Doms. I will be publishing a full list of donors to my campaign after the election (I haven't stopped taking donations yet!) but I can confirm that my campaign is funded through donations from a combination of local supporters, my own pocket and from one or two friends - all of whom live in the North East.
The size of these donations is not huge but we make them go a long way by having lots of keen activists who pound the pavements delivering leaflets and knocking on doors. The Liberal Democrats do not have the deep pockets of Labour or the Tories as we are not funded by the trade unions or big business. Many see this as a disadvantage but I think it means we have to spend every penny wisely. That means printing much of our own literature ourselves and getting our hands dirty! It keeps you grounded and I think people realise we are passionate about what we are arguing for as a result.
As a local CAB manager, I'm afraid I do not earn the big bucks of my Tory or Labour opponents so probably can't give as much as they do to the campaign but I think people can see if you are working hard even if some of your leaflets are a bit inky!
If elected, I pledge to be Blaydons most transparent MP yet. All my expenses claims, plus copies of reciepts, will be published reguarly on the web when they are submitted and I will publish a link to the electoral commission website showing where our funding comes from to pay for the leaflets you see coming through your door. It's the least the public deserves.