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May 17th, 2010

Lobbying – we’ve nearly won

By JohnnyChatterton

Last week the coalition government announced that they’re planning to bring in a statutory register of lobbying interests – a ban of secret lobbying.  This is a big breakthrough for the thousands of 38 Degrees members tbhat have been campaigning for this for the last few months. If it’s introduced big business will be forced to be more transparent about lobbying. We’ll be able to see who is meeting whom, who they’re working for and how much they’re being paid.

Our friends at SpinWatch have been in touch to say “this would not have been possible without the thousands of 38 Degrees members across the country who campaigned for the register”. There are still some big risks that the register won’t be introduced (see the Guardian article here) but here’s a rundown of everything 38 Degrees members have done to get us to this point.

* Nearly 10,000 of us signed petitions to key decision makers. During the expenses scandal thousands of us signed a petition to Angela Smith, Cabinet Office minister urging the Labour Government to clean up politics by introducing a compulsory register of lobbyists. Thousands of us also signed a petition to Cameron.

* We’ve sent over 15,000 emails to party leaders, election candidates and minsters urging them to bring in the ban. In March thosuands of 38 Degrees members sent emails to election candidates, as part of a campaign with the Alliance for Lobbying Transparancy and SpinWatch, urging them to come clean on their links to lobbying companies.

*38 Degrees members launched local campaigns targeting individual election candidates who wouldn’t back a ban of secret lobbying. Pritti Patel, Conservative Candidate (and now MP) for Witham faced a local campaign after she was the only local candidate to refuse to back the ban – in the face of growing pressure she changed position and backed the ban. George Eustice, Conservative candidate (and now MP) for Camborne and Redruth faced big pressure from a local campaign that highlighted the fact that he was the only candidate who was refusing to back a ban.

* Our friends at Spinwatch teamed up with Don’t Panic to expose lobbying links of local election candidates, see the video below

We’ve nearly won – but there are two problems left:
*The timescale to introduce the ban hasn’t been announced. Right now big business is still allowed to lobby in secret. We need the rules passed into law quickly.
*Big business pressure could change the government’s mind again. Hours after the plans were announced a powerful group of lobbying firms vowed to fight it. [2]

Take action now. People power is needed to make sure we ban secret lobbying this year. Please e-mail David Cameron and Nick Clegg now and urge them to introduce the new rules as soon as possible. Just click the link below to get started:


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