Lobbying Bill would gag campaigning voices, Lucas warns

The Lobbying Bill being debated in Parliament today would  shut down a range of legitimate voices while not doing enough to improve transparency, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion has warned.

In a blog ahead of the Bill’s second reading, Caroline Lucas said the part of the Bill that would set up a register of lobbyists does not go far enough, while the creation of new requirements for third party organisations in the run-up to elections would suppress legitimate campaigning.

Caroline said:

“The Bill would have horrifying implications for the way politics – and political campaigning –  are practised in this country.  Outrageously, it would suppress a range of legitimate voices, while doing very little to expose the murky world of lobbying. 

“Some of the potential implications of this are frankly terrifying.  Perhaps most worryingly, the power to stand up against racist or extremist parties could be curtailed.  So we’d have the perverse situation where the BNP, which as a political party would be exempt from these rules, would be protected, whereas those campaigning against them could be severely restricted.”

Lucas has co-sponsored a reasoned amendment to oppose the Bill completely and next week will be hosting a meeting with representatives of Unite, Hope not Hate and other affected organisations so they can put their concerns to MPs.

View the blog at: http://bit.ly/15oYDLk

Caroline's meeting will take place at 10:30am next Tuesday (September 10th) in committee room 14 in Parliament, all welcome, speakers from Liberty, Hope not Hate, NCVO and more TBA.

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