Tag Archives: lobbying bill

Liblink: The lobbying bill is no ‘gagging law’

At the outset, ministers believed the bill would be a fairly non-controversial measure, limiting the political influence of maverick millionaires in elections. It was construed very differently by people we Liberal Democrats most strongly identify with: our natural, liberal allies in the voluntary and charitable sector saw the bill as a broad assault on their freedom of speech.

So write Paul Tyler and Shirley Williams in the Guardian.

The so-called ‘gagging law’ is keeping the definition of ‘non-party campaigning’ in the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 – as that which “can be reasonably …

Posted in LibLink | 20 Comments

Opinion: Why I backed the lobbying bill

Sarah Teather’s interview in the Guardian over the Christmas period talked about the way the political system tends to invent simple issues, in order to give the impression of solving them.

She is clearly right. Because governments are beset by global issues, by phenomenally complex systems, and they fear upsetting their key compromises – then it must sometimes seem easier to stick to the purely symbolic.

What Sarah didn’t say is that oppositions and campaign groups are almost as guilty. They create symbolic issues over proposed legislation which they can campaign on. They win, nothing changes, and everyone stays …

Posted in Op-eds | 27 Comments

The Independent View: Lobbying Bill protects multinational corporate interests at expense of charity campaigns

The Robin Hood Tax campaign is facing a tough opponent – not just from the usual source of the financial sector and their allies, but from legislation currently going through the House of Lords.

The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill is due to go to its report stage next week. The Robin Hood Tax campaign cannot support it for a number of reasons, and we urge peers of all political colours not to rush the bill through just to get it passed in time for the 2015 election. The legislation would hamper our campaigning abilities whilst empowering …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Lord Greaves writes… We must make the Lobbying Bill work

Big Ben Orange Blue 200It is rightly said that this Bill has had a disgraceful lack of scrutiny, and I agree with that. But we are where we are. The Government are not going to withdraw it, and it is not going to stop. If we can work together as a House and the Government can work with us, we can make a much better fist of this Bill than we have at the moment.

Tony Greaves writes on the Transparency of Lobbying, Third Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act, commonly known as the Lobbying Bill, drawing on his statements during the Second Reading on Tuesday. The committee stage begins on Tuesday 5th November, at which amendments will be tabled.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged | 13 Comments

The Independent View: The Lobbying Bill threatens grass-roots campaigning

 gagging law

Take a good look at this picture. This is what grass-roots political activism looks like – and you’ll be seeing a lot less of it if the coalition’s “Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill” becomes law.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Paul Tyler writes… Transparency not gagging

I have spent much of the last week meeting with NGOs to discuss the Transparency Bill, in advance of the first debate on it in the Lords today.  It’s striking that only the most strident can now use the term “gagging bill” with a straight face, and I think even they now realise that the Bill is nothing of the sort.

Readers of Lib Dem Voice, more than most, are well used to accounting for spending in elections.  For the parties, it is clear that their purpose in life is to influence election outcomes.  Candidates and agents have accepted the need …

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments

38 Degrees on the Lobbying Bill: Let’s hope the House of Lords sorts it out

30 Degrees Gagging LawIt was heartening to see an increased number of Liberal Democrat MPs vote against the Lobbying Bill, or ‘gagging law’, this Wednesday. But the majority of Lib Dem MPs voted loyally in support of the government. Overall, this week parliament did nothing to dispel the perception that the gagging law is being actively driven by Lib Dems.

Why is this? Most Lib Dems tend to assume it’s a Conservative bill driven by Andrew Lansley. Amongst those closer to the party leadership, the tone is more bullish and the attitude towards the bill’s critics is actively hostile. Those that fall between the two camps say that the bill is well-intentioned but has unintended consequences which need fixing.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

The Lobbying Bill – How Lib Dem MPs voted

The controversial Lobbying Bill got a clear majority on its third reading has now moved to the Lords. The current text of the bill was robustly defended by Tom Brake in the Commons but many MPs expressed their dissatisfaction with the current drafting, especially Part 2 which constrains the freedom of charities to campaign in election periods.

Forty Lib Dem MPs voted for the bill. Seven voted against: Greg Mulholland, John Pugh, Alan Reid, Adrian Sanders, David Ward, Mark Williams and Roger Williams.

Here is our team voted on the third reading:

Posted in News | 27 Comments

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 | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Buying votes – Lord Tyler on the Lobbying Bill

Big Ben £Concerted non-party campaigns now weave more citizens together than the parties can dream of, and raise a lot of money in the process. They do so not with intensely political ‘values’, but with a chance to pit ‘the people’ against ‘the politicians’ on a given issue. For better or worse, this has a broader appeal than the starkly partisan campaigning we are used to.

The challenge Parliament has to deal with is what all this means for elections, in which non-party groups may increasingly express a preference for one party, or even a group of parties, over the others. Whether it is a group of farmers and rural residents coming together in an association, or a trade union, or a big email list of broadly left-wing people, it is only right and natural that together such organisations should be able to say whom they most support to defend their views and interests. The question is whether the wealthier organisations – or even maverick millionaires – should be able to drown out the poorer ones. I strongly believe they should not.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged | 7 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

Nick Clegg signals changes to Lobbying Bill to address charity concerns

The Guardian and the Independent today report that  the government will backtrack over parts of the Transparency of Lobbying, non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill.

The coalition has maintained that the bill does not impose undue burdens and restrictions on charities during election periods. A wide range of charities and Unlock Democracy have taken the opposite view. In a report yesterday, the cross-party Political and Constitutional Reform Committee also raised a number of worries and has advised the government to rewrite the bill:

Our main recommendation is that the Government should withdraw the Bill following its Second Reading, and support a motion in the House to set up a special Committee to carry out pre-legislative scrutiny, using the text of the existing Bill as a draft.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Tom Brake on 38 Degrees and the Transparency and Lobbying Bill

Tom Brake MPI’m sure some Liberal Democrat members and readers of Liberal Democrat Voice will have recently received a rather alarmist email from 38 Degrees claiming that the Government, through the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, is attempting to stop charities and campaign groups criticising government policy.

I would like to reassure Liberal Democrat Voice readers that 38 Degrees have rather regrettably misrepresented and exaggerated the effect and intent of the bill. We are doing nothing of the sort.

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged | 84 Comments

Lord Paul Tyler writes…Lobbying bill is a major and unexpected advance

Today, the Government published its Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration BillIt marks a major and rather unexpected advance on the position only a couple of months ago.

As the Bill goes through Parliament, we will be arguing that the new information it brings into the public domain must be coupled with much better access to the information which the Coalition has already published.  This Government is the first to proactively publish information on who ministers meet.  Yet at the moment the information is too difficult to find, and not much use when you find …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 6 Comments

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