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Lifting the Lid on Lobbying: The Hidden Exercise of Power and Influence in the UK

At present UK citizens have little opportunity to understand who is lobbying whom, for what purpose and with what funds.

Lifting the Lid on Lobbying  analyses lobbying policies and practices across UK political institutions, evaluating the gaps in the rules that allow hidden lobbying and open the door to corruption.

The research – which looks at Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, and the Assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland – reveals that in many recent lobbying scandals, the rules have not been broken. Our research identified 39 examples of lobbying loopholes across the UK where rules allow behaviour that can open the door to corrupt activity and lobbying abuses.

The findings indicate that there is much to be learned, in different ways, from good practice across the UK.

Results across the UK…

  • The House of Commons is the weakest performer in legislative transparency and integrity in the UK.
  • The House of Lords has the second strongest regime, as a result of recent changes.
  • The disclosure regime for UK Ministers is the strongest relative to others across the UK nations.
  • Northern Irish Assembly code is the strongest legislator code, but the Northern Irish Ministerial code is the weakest.
  • Scotland and Wales are mid-ranking for both legislator codes and for ministerial codes.

If politicians are serious about cleaning up politics, they need to close the lobbying loopholes that open the door to corruption.

All UK parliamentary chambers and assemblies should at least rise to the best practice of what already exists in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast – replacing the current ineffective and confusing patchwork that exists across the UK.

We also recommend that transparency should go further than existing best practice to include:

  • More effective transparency on the part of lobbyists
  • Restrictions on political financing.
  • More effective regulation of the revolving door.
  • Mandatory training in ethics and integrity.

To access our data survey click here

To access a summary of key findings from the report click here

To read our blog post on lobbying click here

To access our press release click here

  Co-funded by the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme of the European Union


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  • Report published: Feb 2015

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