Tag Archives: lobbying

It may not be popular, but it needs saying: Most politicians are decent people who work ridiculous hours serving the public

So, wherever you look today, you see Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, both secretly filmed saying things that most voters will find difficult to comprehend. That includes those of us who are active in politics. By far the most bizarre thing was Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s assertion that he didn’t get a salary.  What on earth does he think the £3000 on his bank statement every month with House of Commons next to it is?

It is perfectly possible that when the investigations to which Straw and Rifkind have submitted themselves are complete, they will find that no rules were actually broken. Both men have been pretty bullish this morning. Straw says he’s mortified he fell into the trap, Rifkind says he has every right to get paid for passing on his expertise. Many people will feel instinctively uncomfortable about politicians who once held the main offices of state or still chair influential parliamentary committees claiming they could offer things like access to ambassadors, or suggest they might work for a daily rate of £5000.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 53 Comments

Opinion: Vote for Emergency Motion 3 on the Lobbying Bill

The lobbying bill is either cock-up or conspiracy

is the verdict of Robert Barrington, the executive director of Transparency International UK.

Glasgow North Local Party has submitted an emergency motion on the Bill to Federal Conference.  If you are a conference delegate please vote for our motion in Sunday’s ballot to choose the three emergency or topical motions which will actually be debated later in the week.

The Transparency of Lobbying, non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill  to give it its full title, was sneaked out just as MPs went on holiday.  An unusually tight timetable has been set and the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Tom Brake MP writes: Part 2 of the Lobbying and Transparency Bill, an update

As Nick mentioned to party members in his Letter from the Leader over the weekend, the government has signalled its willingness to accept the principle of amendments to Part 2 of the bill from John Thurso and other Liberal Democrat MPs.

I would like to thank John for the hugely constructive approach he and many other Liberal Democrat MPs have taken to this bill. It is not, and has never been, the intention of this bill to in anyway restrict the ability of charities to campaign to change government policy or on other issues they feel strongly about. And government …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: And now for something else… Childcare, Lobbying and HS2

Last week, Syria dominated. This week Nick Clegg uses his Leader’s letter to promote a just-announced initiative – 15 hours’ free nursery care to children from the poorest families – and defend another two currently under attack: the Transparency and Lobbying bill and HS2. On lobbying, he dismisses as ‘nonsense’ the idea the Government was ever wanting to gag charities and says the Coalition will accept amendments that make this crystal clear. While on HS2 he argues it is vital to increase capacity, and adds it’s just one of many improvements planned to the railways.

libdem letter from nick clegg

A few weeks ago I asked you to let me know what you wanted me to cover in this letter and one message came back more clearly than any other: anything and everything! The winning choice, by far, was “something else” – with suggestions from bees to tax avoidance.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 16 Comments

Opinion: Regulate more lobbying and less campaigning: how to improve The Transparency of Lobbying, non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill

Neither the current rules regulating lobbying nor those controlling so-called ‘third party’ campaigning (i.e. by someone other than candidates or their parties) are extensive enough. Both need improving.

With lobbying, the case for better regulation is easy to make: pick a scandal, any scandal.

With third party campaigning, the loopholes and relaxed existing rules are less obvious because, so far, they have either been largely under-exploited or have been made use of by ‘good guys’ such as Hope Not Hate. Yet the very same generous rules that let Hope Not Hate explicitly campaigning for people not to vote for the BNP could …

Posted in News | 5 Comments

The Independent View: Concerns about lobbying bill are not alarmist

So the pot has addressed the kettle again. Tom Brake and Chloe Smith have accused 38 Degrees of being either alarmist or scaremongering about the effects of Part 2 of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. Perhaps they would like to add the  famously hysterical Electoral Commission to their list of doom-mongers, as they have also expressed serious concerns.

Mr Brake and Ms Smith claim that Part 2 will save the UK from unaccountable big-spending American-style Super-PACs. No alarmism there, then – especially when the only thing preventing this horror is that non-party spending …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

The Independent View: It’s not alarmist to raise concerns about government plans for non-party campaigning

The government ministers leading on the transparency of lobbying, non-party campaigning and trade union administration bill need to make their minds up. Last week, the newspapers were briefed that the government was “open to changes” to the bill following severe criticism from senior charities. This week, Tom Brake and Chloe Smith are lining up to attack 38 Degrees for “scaremongering” over the bill. So what is the truth?

Unlock Democracy has campaigned for several years now for the introduction of a statutory lobbying register and so has taken a keen interest in this bill. Our

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Paul Tyler writes….There can be no party funding consensus without compromise

This week’s revelations about MPs and Peers profiting from their seats in Parliament has been a catalyst to get the political reform agenda going again, though Alexander Ehmann is quite right to say that these stories were not a “lobbying” scandal as such.  No lobbyist worth their salt (or their fee) would seriously approach a parliamentarian offering ready cash.  Only journalists would do that, exposing their targets as greedy and stupid in equal measure.  The parliamentarians concerned – it would appear – have broken the rules which already exist.  And if they have sinned, it looks like a case …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 11 Comments

Labour and Tory MPs have a new twist on an old game. Block democratic reform. Then criticise lack of democratic reform

clegg on levesonLabour and Tory MPs have a new favourite hobby. It’s one they’ve been practising for decades, but they’ve really refined their art in the last three years.

Basically it works like this…

A political scandal happens. Abuse of expenses by MPs or cash-for-questions/honours/favours, that sort of thing. Everyone demands reform. This must never happen again, they say. Cross-party talks are immediately convened. Then re-convened a few months later once the pressure’s off a bit. And finally they’re abandoned once they’re sure people have got bored with it all and …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 10 Comments

Opinion: The lobbying scandal is nothing of the sort

Big Ben - ParliamentIn recent days the rhetoric regarding lobbyists has notched up a few gears.  These attacks have come from a surprising range of critics.  Yesterday morning Lorraine Kelly on Daybreak suggested to Tom Brake MP that we should ban lobbying altogether and shortly afterwards Lord Oakeshott likened lobbyists to mosquitoes.

I am a lobbyist.  My job requires me to talk and debate issues with politicians, civil servants and others on a daily basis.  There is a great deal of twaddle talked about lobbying.  Some of the nonsense is puff peddled …

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments

Lib Link… Nick Clegg: Sadly, I’m not surprised by these revelations. Westminster is crying out for reform

I know that the absence of the register from last month’s Queen’s Speech raised some concerns. So let me be clear: it will happen.

That was Nick Clegg writing in the Telegraph following accusations that an MP and three peers were engaging in paid lobbying.

Also on the table is the power of recall of corrupt MPs – something also raised by Tories Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell elsewhere in the Telegraph. The point at issue between the two positions: whether there must be wrongdoing, or whether recall is at the absolute discretion of the petitioners and …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

Mercer affair can only help Nick Clegg’s quest for lobbying transparency and recalling MPs

As more embarrassing revelations come out about Newark MP Patrick Mercer’s conduct, momentum is bound to build behind Nick Clegg’s quest to introduce both a register of lobbyists and a right of recall so that constituents can get rid of an MP accused of serious wrongdoing.

He has talked about both issues recently. Firstly, on recall, reported in the Guardian:

The proposals included in the coalition agreement appeared to have been stalled partly because there was disagreement on what behaviour by an MP could trigger a constituent’s right to petition for a byelection.

Clegg is proposing there has to be agreement

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

Lord (Paul) Tyler writes: Political reform has been lost along the way by the Coalition

Houses of ParliamentI first spoke in a Queen’s Speech debate in March 1974. I recall being mystified by that vital penultimate sentence heard again in this year’s speech: “other measures will be laid before you”. It is these innocent, innocuous words which turn out to be quite important. And they give hope that there will be other vital measures excluded at present from the text of the Speech itself.

There are two commitments in the party manifestos and the Coalition Agreement that seem to have been lost along the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

David Heath MP writes… Action at last on a lobbyists’ register

It’s strange how this selective amnesia thing works. The official Opposition has been agitating over recent weeks about when the government will publish the promised consultation on a Statutory Register of Lobbyists. You’d think they had always been in favour of such a thing. Er, no, not exactly. Because there were calls for its introduction under the last government. Liberal Democrats, for instance, asked repeatedly why the then Labour government wasn’t responding to clear recommendations from select committees to do just that. Labour ministers didn’t want to know. We even proposed amendments to at least require companies to report on …

Posted in Op-eds | 2 Comments

The weekend debate: Should former MPs get to keep their parliamentary passes?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

This week saw the revelation in the Independent that there are now 326 former MPs who hold Former Members’ Passes.

The passes allow them access to bring guests into the House of Commons and book restaurants with family in the Palace of Westminster. The Independent raises worries that former MPs may be using these passes to further there lobbying careers.

Former speaker Michael Martin introduced the scheme to allow former MPs to keep up with friends in Parliament but should former MPs have …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

The weekend debate: Lobbying

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

It has been a week of scandal surrounding the lobbying industry, with The Independent publishing a series of stories based around the claims of the lobbying firm Bell Pottinger to be able to influence government policy.

The consultants at Bell Pottinger made claims to undercover reporters that they had already influenced government policy and could do so again for a fee. The government initially responded by saying these claims were rubbish but later conceded that lobbying from companies did have some impact.

So who’s …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Opinion: Lobbying scandals strengthen Lib Dem calls for reform

The Independent’s expose of the tactics used by the lobbying firm Bell Pottinger to impress potential clients shines the spotlight again on the lobbying industry.

A team from Bell Pottinger was filmed pitching to journalists posing as representatives of the Uzbekistan Government, a regime which, as Amnesty’s 2011  report shows, has an atrocious human rights record. The lobbyists boasted of virtually instant access to the Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet.

If I were James Dyson, I would not be happy that my PR company were citing access to the Prime Minister on my behalf as part of …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 8 Comments

Ed Miliband: against lobbying reform before he was for it

Via Paul Wild and Jason Hunter:

It should be noted that 100% of Conservative MPs who took part in the lobbying reform vote also opposed lobbying reform, though that was only one MP.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 14 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 22nd Oct - 1:40am
    Sorry for typos, it is one forty am!
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 22nd Oct - 1:37am
    Can I say this. Despite being involved on a more cross party trajectory in recent years post coalition and referendum, despite regarding cross party involvement...
  • User AvatarPatrick 22nd Oct - 12:00am
    Also, I'm thinking that now that Dr Phillip Lee has been given the justice brief, he has a great opportunity to prove his liberal credentials,...
  • User AvatarPatrick 21st Oct - 11:53pm
    Till otherwise proven with appropriate references, I'm willing to give Dr Phillip Lee the benefit of the doubt. And if someone will issue references that...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Oct - 10:25pm
    Adding to Expats comment, in his latest twitter comment (and in a letter to The Times) two days ago, Dr Lee stated, Dr Phillip Lee...
  • User Avatarexpats 21st Oct - 9:54pm
    George Potter, I have no brief for Dr. Lee but everything I've read shows him IN FAVOUR of rehabilitation for prisoners rather than 'hard labour'......