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As the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill comes up for the final votes at Westminster this week, an advert is appearing in The Times newspaper – supported by Ekklesia and 100 other civil society organisations – drawing parliamentarians' attention to the huge concern about this bill across the voluntary sector, and highlighting the 164,000+ members of the public who have signed it in just a few days.
Lord Harries, former Bishop of Oxford and chair of the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement, was due to be be interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qj9z) on Wednesday 15 January, the last day of the Report Stage of the Bill, but unfortunately the producers decided not to go ahead with the item at the last minute.
However, Katy Wright from Oxfam made an effective appearance debating on Daily Politics on BBC1 TV this lunchtime (14 January, 34 mins in) and there has been more coverage in the national press -- although it has been difficult to pitch because of the complexity and technicality of many of the issues involved. Go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03q4pbw/Daily_Politics_14_01_2014/
We have published separately a briefing (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/files/amendments_briefing.pdf) on the amendments [see link below] being considered today and put forward by Lord Harries on behalf of the NGO coalition of which we are part.
Further amendments were tabled yesterday. The aim is to push three issues to the vote today (staff costs, the scope of constituency regulation, and coalition campaigning), and try to secure ministerial commitments that other issues can be debated at Third Reading.
Kudos to all at CCSDE, and especially to Liz Hutchins, senior campaigner in the Political and Legal Unit at Friends of the Earth, who has done an extraordinary amount of work on this damaging and poorly conceived Bill.
The next stage after this week is the Third Reading in the House.
* More on the Lobbying Bill from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/lobbyingbill
* Lord Harries' amendments: http://civilsocietycommission.info/lord-harries-of-pentregarths-amendments/
* The Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement: http://civilsocietycommission.infoTweet