Lobbying Bill “lets Lynton Crosby off the hook, but gags charities and campaigners from having a say.”

The government’s proposed Lobbying Bill has come under heavy criticism amid fears that it will adversely affect charities and other organisations. The Bill would place a cap on the amount that organisations, not including political parties, can spend during elections.

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons Angela Eagle has said:

“This is a Bill that lets Lynton Crosby off the hook, but gags charities and campaigners from having a say. No wonder the public think David Cameron stands up for the wrong people.”

The Bill is so controversial that it has united a wide range of groups and individuals against it; Labour List, Conservative Home and Lib Dem Voice have all called on MPs to vote against the Lobbying Bill.

Karl Wilding, from the National Council of Voluntary Organisations said:

“This bill takes us from a situation in which charities and community groups largely understood the rules on what they could do, into a position where no one has any idea what the rules are, but may nevertheless face criminal prosecution for getting them wrong. This is the inevitable consequence of rushing legislation through without any consultation.

“I would like the government to give serious consideration to putting its proposals on hold. This would give them the chance to consult properly on a solution that addresses concerns about undue influence in politics without the risk of sweeping every charity and community group in the country into a deeply burdensome bureaucratic regime.”

 

One Response to “Lobbying Bill “lets Lynton Crosby off the hook, but gags charities and campaigners from having a say.””

  1. JR

    A workable definition of what ‘lobbying’ actually is should be the starting point for this Bill. But the Coalition has not even attempted one of any real and practical use: under Clause 2 CocaCola could start a lucrative, unregulated, unregistered lobbying practice.

    This bill is a piece of knee-jerk political drafting. Chloe Smith’s definition has had to acknowledge that regulating the ability to talk to MPs, Ministers or Officials is impossible without undermining free speech and parliamentary scrutiny. This has forced them to regulating and listing business transactions for very high level meetings, as these can be more easily defined. They have decided to rush this through to have an election sound-bite rather of grappling with the potential implications of what they are doing.

    Although the definition is poor, the rest of the Bill is worse, and seems to expose their fears of non-political organisations criticising coalition damage to the NHS, education and welfare.

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