Unlock Democracy backs the Civil Society Commission's report calling for changes to Part 2 of the Lobbying Bill
Chloe Smith’s decision to resign as lobbying minister two days before the new lobbying bill enters its report stage in the House of Commons is a damning indictment for this fundamentally flawed piece of legislation.
Even without the clauses in this bill which could force the everyday activities of all charities, trade unions and civic society organisations to count as election campaigning, it seeks to redefine expenditure for third party campaigning in a way that political parties themselves in the past have said would make it impossible to abide by if the same rules applied to them. The lobbying section of the bill fundamentally misunderstands the nature of lobbying and would simply encourage more lobbying to be conducted under ground.
The fact that these new peers are being shuffled in by the back door during the summer recess, shows you all you need to know about how indefensible a system for stuffing a parliamentary chamber with political appointees has become.
“Strong links between political parties and civic society organisations such as trade unions is a good thing and something which we should encourage. All too often however, the Labour-union link has been conducted at the top of the tree and not at the grassroots. It has been a dysfunctional relationship for many years, which neither side appears to get any satisfaction from. We are hopeful that Ed Miliband’s speech today will spark a debate which will lead to a much healthier relationship in the future.”
Unlock Democracy's statement on Labour calls for all-inclusive statutory lobbying register at our #OpenUpLobbying public meeting in Parliament on Monday 17th June 2013