Lobbying Bill is 'ill-considered'

30 August 2013

ASLEF has written to Members of Parliament to express 'serious concerns' about the ‘Transparency of Lobbying, non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill’ which is due to receive its Second Reading in the House of Commons next week.

Mick Whelan says the union is ‘dismayed that there has been no consultation about these hugely controversial proposals which threaten the free speech of campaigning organisations including trade unions’.

He says he is ‘amazed’ that any government could publish such a Bill without giving full consideration to its consequences.

‘ASLEF supports regulations which keep big money out of elections,’ he says. ‘But this Bill covering rules for third-party campaigners has the potential to make dissent a criminal offence.

‘As an organisation which operates a political fund, my union is concerned about provisions in the Bill which

  • reclassifies what counts as election campaigning
  • alters activities which constitute campaigning; and
  • cuts spending caps by up to 70%.’

ASLEF calls on the government to withdraw the second part of the Bill and urges MPs to vote against it if it is not withdrawn. Mick stresses that we are not opposed to regulation by third parties but ‘ it should be done with agreement, and certainly after consultation, with a clear sense of purpose about what the Bill is intended to achieve.

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