Reformers say corporate lobbyists being let off the hook

By staff writers
11 Jan 2014

While charities and unions would be hamstrung by the Lobbying Bill, big money lobbyists will be virtually untouched, say political reformers.

Part 1 of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill will be debated at its Report Stage in the House of Lords on Monday 13 January 2013.

Commenting on the proposals in this part of the Bill, Alexandra Runswick, director of Unlock Democracy, said: “I am flabbergasted at the Government’s continued endorsement of this deeply inadequate bill. These proposals are fundamentally flawed and fall woefully short of the goals set out by the Coalition Agreement.

“The new register, targeted only at third party ‘consultant lobbyists’ who meet ministers on behalf of clients, will capture just a tiny fraction of lobbying and give us even less information than the current discredited system of self regulation. This shows the level of this Government’s commitment to transparency.

"The government is behaving recklessly by ignoring the advice of both transparency campaigners and the lobbying industry itself. Even at this 11th hour we urge them to accept amendments to the bill.”

The coalition agreement promised a “comprehensive statutory register” which would open up lobbying to public scrutiny.

Reform groups, including the beliefs and values think-tank Ekklesia, have urged peers to vote in favour of amendments tabled by Lord Hardie, Baroness Royall and Baroness Hayter that would extend the register to all professional lobbyists and extend the provisions to Special Advisors and civil servants.

Unlock Democracy "argues and campaigns for a vibrant, inclusive democracy that puts power in the hands of the people. It is politically non aligned and works with politicians from all parties."

* For more detailed information on Part 1 of the Lobbying Bill, see Unlock Democracy's online briefing: http://goo.gl/1grq7D.

* For information on ministerial diaries, see UD's analysis here: http://goo.gl/j9XHwO.

* Five reasons to stop secret corporate lobbying (Open Knowledge Foundation): http://www.buzzfeed.com/okfn/5-reasons-to-stop-secret-corporate-lobbying...

* More on the Lobbying Bill from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/lobbyingbill

* Petition to control secret corporate lobbying (38 Degrees): https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-secret-corporate-lobbying

[Ekk/3]

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