Facebook  Twitter  Youtube  ISSUU  RSS  Email

Media Contacts

Press Office
+ 44 (0)20 3096 7695
Out of hours: Weekends; Weekdays (17.30-21.30): +44 (0)79 6456 0340


TransparencyUK Less than 48 hrs until we announce this year's Annual Lecture speaker! Who will it be? Make sure to keep an 👀 out… https://t.co/5xkmwRe3Mi
TransparencyUK 2/2 Our research shows places like the BVI are destinations of choice for the corrupt. Some of Britain’s Overseas… https://t.co/xi9kVU4smv
TransparencyUK 1/2 #TheLaundromat shows how a Panama law firm helped the rich and powerful hide their assets 💰 More than *half* o… https://t.co/8JDoJ0lvDU

Tag Cloud

Allegations anti-bribery anti-corruption summit AntiCorruption anti money laundering bribery BSkyB Cabinet Office companies conflict Corporate Cooperation corrupt capital Corruption corruption in the uk employment film financial secrecy Governance Government health Home Office journalists Letter Leveson Inquiry London Merkel metropolitan police money laundering moneylaundering offshore tax open governance pharmaceuticals PHP police ethics Prime Minister Register of Interests Research safe havens Social Accountability Trustees UK Unexplained Wealth Orders unmask the corrupt UWO vacancies

Stay Informed

Sign up for updates on TI-UK's work & corruption news from around the globe.

The Lobbying Bill’s problems – and an interesting development

Written by Robert Barrington on Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Government’s Lobbying Bill has come in for intensive criticism in recent days. TI’s own briefing paper on it is here. We think it is an unusually poor piece of draft legislation. As the week draws to a close here are some reflections on the Lobbying Bill’s problems – and news of an interesting development.

The Government’s Lobbying Bill has come in for intensive criticism in recent days. TI’s own briefing paper on it is here. We think it is an unusually poor piece of draft legislation. As the week draws to a close, here are some reflections on the Lobbying Bill’s problems – and news of an interesting development.

In TI’s view the Bill has three fundamental flaws:

1. Its declared purpose of regulating lobbying through creating a register will not work. There is near-universal agreement, including from the lobbying industry, that the current proposals for a register will be entirely ineffective.

2. It would have further consequences – whether intended or unintended – that go far beyond regulating lobbying into controlling the normal activities of unions and non-governmental organisations. The Electoral Commission is clearly uncomfortable about this.  Most charities that have thought about it – including the charity trade body NCVO which sought a legal opinion from a leading QC – see it as a grave threat to their freedom of expression.

3. There is little point in regulating lobbying as a stand-alone activity. What needs to be regulated is the ability of – usually rich – special interest groups to manipulate politics to suit their own ends. We need to regulate, and have full transparency over, those who seek to engender decision-making by governments, law-makers and regulators in their own interests and not the public interest. That means regulating the revolving door, dealing with party funding and addressing the honours system as well – ambitions that go way beyond what is in this lobbying bill, but that don’t seem to be on the government’s horizon.

This last point is important, because it suggests that the focus on a register of lobbying, and the chilling effect on charities, actually miss the point. However, as the debate over this Bill has heated up, there has been a new development that suggests some people, at least, understand the underlying nature of the problem.

The Bill is badly in need of amendments to improve it. But the best thing that can happen is that it is scratched altogether. The government should wait for the report from Committee on Standards in Public Life, which is examining this issue right now, and then introduce a new bill that is fit for purpose.



Read 19056 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 11:47

Robert Barrington

Robert is TI-UK's Executive Director. You can view his full bio here, and tweet him @TIukED.

Leave a Reply

Contact Us | Sitemap | Privacy

UK Charity Number 1112842

Transparency International UK is a chapter of