There is broad consensus over third sector policy, say Nick Hurd and Jenny Willott

Hurd says he does not know if he would be sector minister in a Conservative administration

Both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat charity spokespeople have said there are a number of policies on which they would cooperate with other parties in the hung parliament.

Nick Hurd and Jenny Willott both said there was a broad consensus on the need to simplify Gift Aid and to make sure charities had the support they needed in order to run public services.

"In the voluntary sector there is a huge amount of consensus between the parties already," Willott told Third Sector.

"We're all trying to achieve the same thing; we just have different ideas about how to do it. The different parties could cooperate on the voluntary sector far more than they do."

Willott said the hung parliament could give charities more influence over policy than they had previously enjoyed. "Ministers will feel obliged to consult on legislation more widely," she said. "They might have to give external groups such as charities more of a say if they have to get measures past MPs from other parties."

Hurd said there was welcome cross-party agreement about the need to reform the administration of Gift Aid, to set up a social investment bank and to open up the delivery of public services to the voluntary sector.

"I'd be very frustrated if we weren't given the chance to put in place our plans for these things, but I think we'd get support for them from other parties," he said.

Hurd added that he did not know if he would be the third sector minister in a Conservative-led government or would take on a different role.

"Everything is up in the air at the moment, so I don't know," he said. "I'd like to stay in the post, but it's up to David Cameron."

Angela Smith, the previous third sector minister, lost her seat in her Essex constituency last night.

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