Author Archives: John Thurso

John Thurso MP: Lobbying Bill to be amended to protect charities and lobby groups

Big Ben Orange Blue 200Government’s “Transparency” Bill seeks to ensure that those who are not standing in an election, but nonetheless wish to spend money influencing the outcome, are also subject to tight limits within constituencies and have to be transparent about the source of their money. It builds on existing law passed by Labour, and reduces present spending limits.

However, the Bill has caused an unexpected row, with charities and lobbying groups claiming that restrictions on election expenditure could be a “gag” on their right of free speech. That is not the experience of candidates. Nonetheless, I wanted to make absolutely sure the Bill was about changing what people could spend, rather than restricting in any way what they could say. I tabled probing amendments at the Committee Stage of the Bill, and for the first time in my parliamentary career, a Minister accepted my argument from the Despatch Box and promised to do roughly what I had asked!

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 17 Comments

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