The Lobbying Bill returns to the House of Lords today, Tuesday 28 January 2014, and the Commons shorty afterwards, as the 'ping pong' process follows the Commons decision to overturn key Lords amendments - ones with the overwhelming backing of charities, NGOs, voluntary organisations, civil society campaign groups, unions, and hundreds of thousands of members of the public who have been pressing parliamentarians on the issue.
The Lobbying Bill completed its House of Lords stages today (21 January 2014) with a large vote in favour of an amendment tabled by Lord Harries of Pentregarth, chair of the Commission of Civil Society and Democratic Engagement.
A poll of lobbyists found that only four per cent believe that the lobbying bill will increase transparency. This widely-criticised measure may block voluntary and community organisations and trade unions from flagging up public concerns. But clearly it will not achieve what is supposed to be its main purpose – making lobbying more transparent.
Even with the changes agreed as result of the Report Stage in the House of Lords this week, the UK government's Lobbying Bill remains a huge restriction on civil society campaigning compared to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.