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Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014


The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom introduced in July 2013.[1] The Bill was sponsored by the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). It was often referred to as "The Lobbying Bill" for short.[2] It passed all Parliamentary stages, and received Royal Assent on 30 January 2014.[3]

Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014
Act of Parliament
Long title An Act to make provision for establishing and maintaining a register of persons carrying on the business of consultant lobbying and to require those persons to be entered in the register; to make provision about expenditure and donations for political purposes; to make provision about the Electoral Commission’s functions with respect to compliance with requirements imposed by or by virtue of enactments; to make provision relating to a trade union’s duty to maintain a register of members under section 24 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992; and for connected purposes.
Citation 2014 c. 4
Introduced by Andrew Lansley
Territorial extent United Kingdom and Gibraltar
Dates
Royal assent 30th January 2014
Other legislation
Amends Representation of the People Act 1983, Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000
Status: Current legislation
History of passage through Parliament
Text of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk

The Bill was founded on the principle of 'transparency' and 'cleaning up politics'.[4][5] [6][7]

Contents

OriginsEdit

The Bill was introduced partly in response to the Labour selection process in Falkirk and the alleged shortcomings of the influence of Unite the Union in that process.[8][9] Problems with lobbying in Westminster also prompted the Bill.[10] Following the recent expenses scandal Prime Minister David Cameron had suggested that lobbying was the 'next big scandal' to consume Parliament.[11]

Some British trade unions suggested that the proposed Bill was a cynical move by the Coalition Government.[12] A Government spokesperson described the proposed Bill as a "radical" Bill.[13]

The Bill would reduce the expenditure by charities during an election period before they must be registered with the Electoral Commission to £5,000, a proposal which has been criticised by the sector.[14]

In months directly prior to July 2013 incidents such as Patrick Mercer and his alleged lobbying for contracts related to Fiji had brought the issues surrounding lobbying into sharp focus.[15]

Details of the BillEdit

Part 1: "Registration of Consultant Lobbyists"Edit

This Part makes an offence of consultant lobbying without prior registration, with some exceptions for specific circumstances, and in addition creates a "Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists".[16] Section 1 states that "A person must not carry on the business of consultant lobbying unless the person is entered in the register of consultant lobbyists."

Part 2: "Non-Party campaigning etc."Edit

This Part amends electoral law relating to funding of candidates and electoral campaigning. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 would be amended to reduce the amount of money permitted to be donated by "third parties", organisations which would "reasonably be regarded as intended to promote or procure the electoral success of a party or candidate". Section 26, Clause 5 amends PPERA to the effect that, when determining the intention of expenditure, "...it is immaterial that it can reasonably be regarded as intended to achieve any other purpose as well.”

Clause 11 adds a new Section into PPERA to include 'electoral material' that could be reasonably regarded as promoting a specific candidate or party.

Part 3: "Trade Unions’ Registers of Members "Edit

This Part affects the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 with regards to records of Trade Union membership lists and related administrative changes.

CriticismEdit

The Bill, often referred to by the shorthand "Lobbying Bill", attracted criticism. The Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee called it "illiberal",[17] with that paper's leader writer slammed the Bill as "partisan" and "particularly despicable".[18] The Electoral Commission admitted concern over the "significant regulatory uncertainty" for businesses and charities.[19] Owen Jones for The Independent said there was a "chilling effect" of the legislation for charities campaigning on matters of policy in the lead up to a general election[20] Angela Eagle claimed during the "Third Reading" stage of the Bill that the legislation "seeks to silence critics of the Government in the run-up to the general election, while letting vested interests operate out of sight" and was "an object lesson in how not to legislate".[21]

The charities Oxfam and the Royal British Legion said that the Bill had a "lack of clarity".[22] The MP Graham Allen described the Bill as "a dog's breakfast".[23]

During the Second Reading of the Bill on 3 September 2013, much criticism was made of the Bill, with Members of Parliament referring to it as a "gagging Bill",[24] "risible and misconceived",[25] and that it amounted to a "full-frontal attack on members of society".[26] The Guardian newspaper labelled the Bill "a shameful travesty".[27]

The Bill was called "a gift" to critics of trade unions.[28]

The National Council of Voluntary Organisations strongly opposed the bill;[29] a large number of charities and other campaigning groups joined in opposition to the bill including Action for Blind People, Action for Children, British Heart Foundation, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Countryside Alliance, Guide Dogs, Islamic Relief UK, Hope not Hate, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, The Royal British Legion, RSPB and the Salvation Army.

The Lobbying bill was criticised as "Stalinist" and a Labour party peer accused it of being a move by the Liberal Democrat party to prevent the NUS and other student groups from targeting them at the 2015 election following the Lib Dems breaking their 2010 election pledge to block increases in tuition fees [30]

SupportEdit

The Leader of the House of Commons Andrew Lansley defended the Bill as being necessary because of the lack of trust in politics.[31] Liberal Democrat MP John Thurso called the Bill "a step forward".[32] The Deputy Leader of the House pointed out in the Commons that some of the claims made against the Bill, such as stopping updated health and safety legislation or stopping the creation of the Labour Party, were "completely outwith" the proposals.[33]

The Deputy Leader further explained that the Bill was intended to avoid the setting up in the UK of the so-called "Super PACs" used in the United States.[34] The former Cabinet Officer Minister Chloe Smith underlined how the Bill was about "extending transparency" during elections.[35]

Parliamentary timetableEdit

The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill had its Second Reading on 3 September 2013. It completed its Commons stages on 9 October 2013. It was debated in the House of Lords from 22 October and completed its Committee stage on 18 December 2013. It passed its final parliamentary stage, third reading in the House of Lords, on 28 January 2014[36] and received Royal Assent on 30 January 2014.[37][38]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Proposed Bill - Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill Parliament.uk
  2. ^ Lobbying Bill threatens freedom of speech, warns electoral body The Independent
  3. ^ UK Parliament (2014). "Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 201". parliament.uk. Retrieved 15 Apr 2015. 
  4. ^ Hansard - Second Reading Parliament.uk
  5. ^ Lobbying Bill to be re-drafted over charity concerns The Independent
  6. ^ Lobbying bill sinister and partisan, says Labour BBC News
  7. ^ 'Flawed' lobbying bill should be withdrawn, says committee of MPs BBC News
  8. ^ Labour's Falkirk row becomes national issue for Labour BBC News
  9. ^ Labour and Unite: a little time-bomb Centre-Left
  10. ^ David Cameron is accused of using lobbying scandal to curb Labour’s trade union support Independent.co.uk
  11. ^ David Cameron warns lobbying is next political scandal Telegraph
  12. ^ Lobbying: Union anger over 'cynical' coalition move BBC News
  13. ^ Govt to bring forward lobbying bill PoliticsHome
  14. ^ Lobbying Bill - Survey Disability Rights UK
  15. ^ Is this the moment MP signs fake lobbying contract? Tory Patrick Mercer quits party as Cameron critic falls for sting operation and pockets £4,000 to lobby for Fiji Daily Mail
  16. ^ Explanatory Notes Parliament.uk
  17. ^ The lobbying bill will save corporate PRs but silence the protesters The Guardian
  18. ^ Lobbying bill: shameless, shameful and shaming The Guardian
  19. ^ The Electoral Commission says the government’s lobbying bill is bad law that’s unenforceable and a massive burden on free speech Tax Research.org
  20. ^ Under the disguise of fixing lobbying, this Bill will crush democratic protest The Independent
  21. ^ Hansard Third Reading Parliament.uk
  22. ^ Lobbying bill could silence us, say charities BBC News
  23. ^ [1] Comment: The lobbying bill is either cock-up or conspiracy - Politics.co.uk
  24. ^ Hansard Commons Parliament.uk
  25. ^ Hansard Commons Parliament.uk
  26. ^ Hansard Commons Parliament.uk
  27. ^ Think Again: Gagging Bill The Guardian
  28. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/11/lobbying-bill-gift-to-union-bashers-blacklisting The lobbying bill is a gift to union bashers The Guardian
  29. ^ http://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Chloe-Smith-non-party-campaigning-final.pdf
  30. ^ "Liberal Democrats 'Stalinist' over Lobbying Bill, says Labour peer". BBC News. 17 October 2013. 
  31. ^ Hansard Commons Parliament.uk
  32. ^ Hansard Commons Parliament.uk
  33. ^ Hansard Third Reading Parliament.uk
  34. ^ Tom Brake on 38 Degrees and the Transparency and Lobbying Bill Liberal Democrat Voice
  35. ^ Response to 38 Degrees Gov.uk
  36. ^ "Lobbying bill to become law after Lords rebellion falters". BBC News. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  37. ^ UK Parliament 2014.
  38. ^ Even the "mother of all parliaments ", the House of Commons, proceeded to act in the matter with the law on the lobbies:Buonomo, Giampiero (2014). "La legge sulle lobbies". Mondoperaio edizione online.   – via Questia (subscription required)

External linksEdit