LOBBYING BILL GIVES PROFESSIONAL LOBBYISTS FREE REIN WHILST SILENCING CHARITIES AND CAMPAIGNERS

“This is a sad day for anyone who values the work that civil society groups do in leading debate on important political issues. The government has rejected improvements to the Lobbying Bill passed in the House of Lords which would have protected campaigns from the worst excesses of the proposed new regulation.

These changes were made with cross-party support in the Lords, taking into account the concerns of campaigners and charities. It is deeply regrettable that the government has refused to listen, and now our democracy will pay the price. Campaign groups will now be reluctant to speak up when their voices are most needed: in the run-up to an election. We urge members of the House of Lords to reinstate the amendments and force the government to think again”
— Commenting on the government’s decision to remove improvements made to the Lobbying Bill in the House of Lords, Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy, said
“This government claimed it was going to be the most transparent ever. In reality, they have created a lobbying register that will capture about 1% of lobbying activity in the UK and even then will provide the public with less information than the already discredited system of self regulation.

This bill lets professional lobbyists stay in the shadows whilst shutting down public debate at election time.”
— On Part 1 of the Bill, which creates a statutory register of lobbyists, she said