Thursday, 5 September 2013

Cambridge MP Acts To Correct Lobbying Bill And Protect Charities

MP Julian Huppert has acted to change some of the wording of the proposed Lobbying Bill to make sure that while it tightens up on big money politics, it makes sure charities not electioneering are still able to lobby government.

The Bill aims to stop wealthy organisations promoting or opposing candidates or parties with large sums of money and will make the whole issue more transparent.

Julian also wants to make sure that the lobby rules cover not just politicians and senior servants but Ministers’ special advisors as well and that the definition of “electioneering” is not changed by the new legislation.

He said: “The government should either accept these amendments or come up with suitable alternatives to correct the Bill.

“I want to make sure that while we are agreeing to new legislation that will stop wealthy organisations spending large sums of money to promote or oppose specific candidates or parties, we don’t stop charities being able to lobby on issues if they are not electioneering.

“I have discussed this with a number of charities and organisations and have put forward these amendments which will hopefully address those concerns and other issues which I am not happy about. The wording of the Bill is not yet right and I will not support it until it is fixed.”

The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill would set a £390,000 cap on the amount any organisation – excluding political parties – could spend across the UK during elections.

It is designed to give people more confidence in the way third parties interact with the political system and where they campaign to support a political party or its candidates they will be required to fully record and disclose their expenditure on those campaigns.