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Down but not out!

31st Jan 2014

I'm afraid the Lobbying Bill is now the Lobbying Act.

It was a suitably dramatic finish to the end of the campaign to fight the Lobbying Bill: The House of Lords voted exactly equally on a key amendment we wanted (245 for and 245 against) which under the rules meant that the Government won.  It was galling (like losing on penalties my colleague said) but this final defeat on one amendment should not overshadow what an amazing thing the campaign against the Lobbying Bill was:

We made the law better: Whilst we did not get everything we wanted the campaign did manage to change the final Act in some really substantial ways, compared to the version the Government put to parliament in September.

We united a voluntary sector from the Salvation Army and British Legion to 38 Degrees and Friends of the Earth to the Countryside Alliance and Taxpayers Alliance. Brought together by the mantra that "we don't always have the same opinions but we believe in our freedom to share them" 130 organisations supported the much-respected Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement.

Our supporters have had a considerable impact here - MPs are left in no doubt as to the strength of feeling about this issue. We now have to live within the law, but I've never seen Oxfam remain quiet or take the easy road in the face of injustice, poverty and suffering and I don't expect to see that now.