Liam Vaughan asks brokers in the key political leaders' constituencies to rate their performances and promises

John Redwoo
Shadow secretary of state for deregulation Conservative MP for Wokingham

Not surprisingly, Redwood is a strong advocate of reducing the regulatory burden on brokers.

"The FSA has become too big and too complex," he recently said in an interview with Insurance Times. "...8,000 pages of regulations are excessive, particularly given that the vast majority of companies are compliant."

On the compensation culture, he argues that the government needs to get tough and keep "escalating claims under control".

He says: "The compensation culture is fuelled by too many regulatory bodies and too much law. We don't want to deny redress, but there is a danger that fear of litigation will get so out of control that it scares people away from running a business at all."

The local reaction
One local broker says: "I owned my own small broker for over 20 years and was eventually the victim of consolidation. One of the major reasons was the added burden of FSA compliance. Larger firms have whole teams to deal with regulation but, if you are a small broker, it is crippling.

"That said, regulation was necessary to crack down on those that have given this industry a bad name.

"I think John Redwood's idea of going easy on smaller brokers is wrong. Rules need to be implemented across the board to be truly legitimate."

Richard Sprin
Shadow minister for economic affairs Conservative MP for Suffolk West

Spring says the Conservatives will set "a new remit for the FSA".

He argues strongly for maintaining the competitiveness of the UK insurance industry.

"Anything that threatens that is going to be damaging to the whole industry and is therefore counter- productive," he says.

"After six months we would want to see a demonstrably lighter touch."

Spring says the Conservatives "will roll back over time the regulation that we think will strangle the industry that is so important to this country".

He also rejects the idea of a European insurance regulator, and says the party would press for an "immediate moratorium" on any new EU legislation for the industry.

The local reaction
Mike Heyoe, commercial manager of John Hilary & Co says: "In terms of regulation I have to agree with Spring. FSA regulation has largely been like cracking a nut with a sledge-hammer.

"I honestly don't think there is a need for statutory regulation of the UK broking sector because there was never a problem. There should definitely be a lighter touch for the smaller brokers."

He adds: "I also think it's unfair that the UK has incorporated the Insurance Mediation Directive before the rest of Europe.

"As Spring said, we shouldn't jump in when it is ultimately the industry and the customer that pays the price.

"The FSA has hardly covered itself in glory since 14 January."

Malcolm Bruce, Lib Dem trade and industry spokesman Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon, Scotland

Bruce says the Lib Dems would take a "long, hard look" at the FSA and UK regulation. "Regulation is too expensive. The FSA is not explaining its policies properly" he says.

He is also a proponent of a no-fault compensation system. "This is practical, particularly for the insurance industry because you can cap it, namely you will pay no-fault compensation up to a certain amount in order to avoid litigation."

Bruce describes some insurance policies as a "con". "There are ridiculous policies on household goods. If you need some repairs done, then you'd be better off just paying out when you need them."

The local reaction
"What the Lib Dems say on regulation is right: It is far too costly and burdensome. Brokers are being over-regulated," says one broker, who adds: "But I wouldn't vote for the Lib Dems. They wouldn't know what to do."

Stephen Timm
Financial secretary to the Treasury Labour MP for East Ham

Timms promises to reduce the regulatory burden on firms. "The Chancellor agreed to implement the Hampton Review because we need to bear down on the regulatory burden and reduce bureaucracy," he says.

Regulatory bodies will target firms on the basis of a risk assessment. "Where you can see a track record with a lower risk, then you can stand back. Where there are problems, regulation and inspection will be more intrusive."

He adds: "Firms shouldn't have to give the same piece of information twice. There will be no inspections without a reason for them."

The local reactio
It seems Timms has failed to capture the imagination of brokers in his constituency. One told Insurance Times: "To be honest politics doesn't really interest us at all. It's not important."