The government have failed to publish proposals for a statutory register of lobbying activity thirty-one days after the Prime Minister assured the House of Commons that they would be published “in the next month”.
Unlock Democracy, who campaign for democratic reform in the UK, say that this marks the “latest missed deadline”. The organisation accused the government of being “in disarray” on the issue.
Several deadlines on the issue have been either unclear or missed. Junior Cabinet Office minister Mark Harper promised to publish proposals for lobbying reform in November, following the scandal which led to the resignation of the former Defence Secretary, Liam Fox.
Prime Minister David Cameron promised on 14 December to publish the proposals “within the next month”. On 10 January, Harper appeared to backtrack, saying they would be issued “within the next few weeks”.
“The lack of urgency in Cameron’s government to take action on this has been astonishing,” said Peter Facey, Director of Unlock Democracy.
Nick Clegg has exempted himself from taking an active role in this policy area due to his wife’s work in the lobbying sector, meaning that it has been left to a junior minister to take the lead.
Facey said, “Up until now, it is clear this low-priority approach has not been working. It is time David Cameron himself took a lead. Otherwise, this latest pledge to publish plans ‘in the next few weeks’ will be in danger of becoming a matter of months or even years.”