Friday, 18 May 2012

Unlock Democracy: Lobbying Campaign Progress



Yesterday, the minister in charge of government policy to introduce a lobbying register gave evidence to the House of Commons’ political and constitutional reform committee. You can watch the evidence session here:

http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/mark-harper-evidence

In the meeting, he acknowledged that most of the responses to the recent consultation demanded stronger rules on transparency than the ones he had proposed. This accords with Mark Harper’s comments at our own public meeting in Birmingham last month where he admitted that he had united both transparency campaigners and the lobbying industry in demanding the regulations cover a wider range of lobbying activities!

The government is now due to publish a white paper and draft legislation for the lobbying register in this session of parliament - alongside a second consultation process. We welcome this but are concerned by the minister’s repeated assertions that the government intends to “take its time” over the proposed rules, although he insisted that the register would be created by 2015 at the latest. Of course it is crucial the government gets the rules right, and the proposals in its initial consultation were so poor it is clear it will have to go back to first principles. But it doesn’t take years to get the legislation right; it requires political will.

Unlock Democracy: Lobbying Campaign Progress
Thank you to everyone who took part in our campaign in response to the consultation. Last month we handed the Cabinet Office a letter signed by more than 7,000 people (as well as a similar letter, pictured, signed by 28 organisations). As a result of this pressure, it is clear the government now accepts that its initial proposals were unacceptably weak and it has had to go back to the drawing board. You can be assured that we will be continuing to monitor the situation very closely and will alert you the next time an opportunity to influence the process arises.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Facey
Director, Unlock Democracy

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