Still more to do on the Lobby Bill...
Katy Wright Head of UK Government Relations
20th Jan 2014
The Lobbying Bill: YES there are STILL things wrong with it, NO we're still not happy and NO the campaign isn't over.
Since we last blogged about the 'Lobbying Bill' we've had some real moments of success and we know the Government are listening - but as it stands the bill is still a big threat to our work. Let's start with the good news first.
GREAT NEWS - The campaign has got bigger and better: The Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement was set up to look into the detail of the bill. It's now supported by more than 100 organisations and produced an influential second report.
GREAT NEWS - The Government made some key amendments: That proves they are listening to the pressure you're helping us create. They have raised the amount a campaign must spend before they have to register with the Electoral Commission - which will help lots of smaller groups - and they have delayed the date by which all this kicks in. They have also said the whole law will be properly reviewed in 2015.
GREAT NEWS - The House of Lords voted overwhelmingly against the Government: They are against amending the bill even further and succeeded in removing the need to account for most staffing costs in overall campaign spending limits.
STILL UNKNOWN - We don't know if the government will accept this defeat in the Lords or try to overturn this in the Commons.
BAD NEWS - The Government rejected further really sensible amendments: These amends would help us continue to work in coalitions or would help local groups campaign in their constituencies.
What now? There is still a lot to do - and lots we need help with. This week the bill finishes its journey through the Lords and we hope to persuade the Government to amend it further, or for the Lords to inflict another defeat. But then it's back to the Commons and so we desperately need to put it back on MP's radar to ensure that whatever we achieve in the Lords doesn't get undone when it goes back down!
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