Lobbying Law

29 January 2014

The Lords inflicted three defeats on the government during the passage of the Transparency of Lobbying,Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. But MPs overturned all three amendments and, since the changes were not reinstated when the Bill returned to the Lords, it will now become law. One amendment resulted in a tied vote, 245-245, a highly unusual result in which the amendment fell as it was deemed not to have been agreed.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said: ‘This bill is a slap in the face for democracy and everyone who believes in freedom of speech and the democratic process. The Conservative-led coalition has cynically exploited the lobbying scandal ­– a problem David Cameron promised, and failed, to properly address– to crack down on trade unions and charities in this country.

‘During the last election MrCameron banged on about lobbying and how he was going to clean up the Augean Stables. Since he moved into Downing Street he has turned a Nelsonic blind eyeto the problem because he and his mates are always happy to talk to rich businessmen and those operating on their behalf.

‘Instead of addressing the real problems of cash for questions and MPs and Lords for hire he is preventing trade unions working on behalf of our members and charities pointing up problems the government wants us to forget. It’s a disgrace.

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