The Government's Lobbying Bill: Follow-Up
HC 891, Tenth Report of Session 2013-14 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes
- House of Commons - Political and Constitutional Reform Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
'The Government's Lobbying Bill: Follow-Up (HC 891)' follows up on the examination of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill covered in the report 'The Government's Lobbying Bill' (see below)
The second report on the Bill was published by the Committee online in time for consideration of Lords amendments by the House of Commons on 22 January.
The haste with which Lords amendments were returned to the Commons is an example of the way in which this Bill has been rushed through Parliament. The timetable that the government has imposed for this Bill indicates contempt for Parliament and a lack of belief in the value of parliamentary scrutiny.
The Committee continues to have serious concerns about the very narrow scope of Part 1, on lobbying. Without the changes recommended in the Committee's original report (see below) to broaden the register, Part 1 of the Bill will do little to increase transparency about who is lobbying whom and for what purpose.
Part 2 of the Bill, on third party campaigning also remains problematic.
Despite significant changes to the Bill, the Committee would still like further amendments:
Part 1 should include Senior Civil Servants within the list of people with whom contact counts as lobbying;
In Part 2, the maximum expenditure limits for third party campaigning should be restored to their current levels in England, Scotland and Wales (the Committee is content with the proposed increase in the limit for Northern Ireland); and
The reporting and accounting requirements in Part 2 of the Bill need to be made less bureaucratic.
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