Briefing on Lord Harries' amendments to the Lobbying Bill

Briefing on Lord Harries' amendments to the Lobbying Bill

A series of amendments are being tabled to the Lobbying Bill by Lord Harries today (15 January 2014), for which we offer a full briefing below.

These are supported by the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement, which is backed by over 120 charities and campaigning organisations, including Ekklesia.

The amendments are also supported by a petition of some 130 NGOs and over 163,000 people.

The amendments are also supported by the National Council of Voluntary Organisations and the Association
of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.

Priorities for voting at this Report stage are:
1. The scope of staff costs: amendment 45
2. The scope of constituency regulation: amendment 52
3. Coalition campaigning: amendment 39A

These are compromise amendments rather than representing the changes that the Commission and campaigning organiations think are needed to the Bill.

Because the Bill was drafted without consultation with NGOs, trade unions or the Electoral Commission, and without any pre-legislative scrutiny, and because it has been rushed through Parliament, significant
problems and uncertainties remain with this legislation unusually late in the process.

Part 1 of the Bill is wholly inadequate to tackle large-scale corporate lobbying. Part 2 remains a serious threat to freedom of speech and association and would curtail non-party campaigning on some of the most important issues facing the country. Part 3 threatens the confidentiality of trade union membership and imposes unnecessary, restrictive red tape. It is Part 2 that is being considered today.

Further proposals are being put forward for the Third Reading in the House of Commons at the end of January 2014.

* FULL BRIEFING on the amendments (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document): http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/files/amendments_briefing.pdf

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

* Lord Harries' amendments in full: http://civilsocietycommission.info/lord-harries-of-pentregarths-amendments/

* The marshalled amendments being considered in order: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2013-2014/0050/amen...

* The Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement: http://civilsocietycommission.info

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