The Deputy leader of the Commons, Tom Brake MP said recently,
“I make no apology for a bill that seeks to prevent big, opaque and unaccountable money wielding undue influence over our political system.”
And he is right not to do so. If the Bill was simply about lobbying by secretive big corporations we would all be behind it. But that description hardly applies to the country's charities. It is clear that the Bill as drafted does inhibit charity's core work in speaking for their beneficiaries. When even the Electoral Commission says its a problem for charities then there is a problem to be sorted and it is no good blustering your way out of the problem as the Cabinet Office are doing. Saying the earth is flat, however loudly doesn't alter the fact it is round so a little more common sense from CO would be most welcome.
The Electoral Commission joins a long list of organisations who have voiced concerns about the Transparency of Lobbying Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill in the past week. They warn it could hugely impact the future of campaigning.
I'm optimistic we can get this Bill changed. But sooner rather than later would be good.