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Labour and Lib Dems in 'spads' spat

Labour yesterday accused the Liberal Democrats of failing to keep their pre-election promise to end taxpayer funding for party political ministerial advisers.

It claims Lib Dem special advisers, known in Westminster as 'spads', are costing the country more than £1m a year despite previous pledges to make parties cover their own team's payroll.

Labour also seized on the appointment earlier this month of funding donor Neil Sherlock as Nick Clegg's director of government relations as further proof of the party "saying one thing and doing another".

The Lib Dems hit back by accusing Labour of "double standards" and pointing out that the highest number of spads employed by a Government - 85 - was under Tony Blair.

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