This affront to democracy is supposed to prevent cash-for-lobbying by big business in the run-up to an election. However, it has become a thinly veiled declaration of war on non-profits and trade unions.
The restrictions outlined in the bill are so severe that they would outlaw campaigning against any political party. This would include campaigning against extremists such as the BNP, by any charity spending more than a tiny amount of money.
The TUC have called it “an outrageous attack on freedom of speech worthy of an authoritarian dictatorship”.
Shadow Commons Leader Angela Eagle said: “The proposals on lobbying are so narrow that they are laughable, and the plans to gag charities with onerous regulations amount to an attack on civil society in the run up to an election.”
Commons reformer, MP Graham Allen has described it as ‘a dog’s breakfast’. And even conservative MP Douglas Carswell dryly responded that ‘He is wrong of course. More thought has gone into pet nutrition than into this bill.’
We must stop this before it wreaks havoc with the democratic process. We cannot allow this bill to penalise those of us who care, while leaving big business to continue to influence civil service workers behind closed doors.
- The new Lobbying Bill will criminalise even basic campaigning by Trade Unions (liberalconspiracy.org)
- Dear Chloe Smith, Why are you taking away the right to free speech my grandfather died for? (taxresearch.org.uk)
- Write to Chloe Smith (anewnatureblog.wordpress.com)
- UK: This government attack on unions will gag charities and campaign groups, too (theguardian.com)
- Beware consequences of ‘rushed’ lobbying legislation, MPs warned (independent.co.uk)
- Liberal Conspiracy: The new Lobbying Bill will criminalise even basic campaigning by Trade Unions (moonblogsfromsyb.wordpress.com)
- Stop This Sinister Bill! (nickgarbutt.wordpress.com)
- Charities force lobbying law rethink (bbc.co.uk)
- Lobbying bill ‘could gag charities’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Chloe Smith: don’t gag 38 Degrees (streetdemocracy.wordpress.com)