Tuesday 10 December 2013

Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement launch second report

Today sees the launch of the second report of the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement into the government’s deeply flawed Lobbying Bill. The report urges the government to abandon its plans to gag charities and campaign groups, and puts forward amendments which would protect the right of civil society to speak out on behalf of those they serve.

I for one welcome the report and urge government to listen. This bill represents an assault on all campaigning groups, left or right, who do so much to bring our democracy to life. 

The bill will silence charities and other campaigners while giving corporate lobbyists the run of Westminster. The Government must rethink - unless we want to become a beacon to oppressive regimes across the world who want to gag their civil society.

The commission draws from a wealth of evidence from across civil society, including ACEVO. It draws together the expertise and experience of a wide range of charities and campaigning organisations from right across the political spectrum. We have stood together against the Government’s lobbying bill and it would be foolish to ignore what we've said today. This misguided bill will not restore trust in politics; instead, it will stifle civic participation and engagement in the democratic process.

The bill will be debated for the second time in the House of Lords on 16 & 18 December. ACEVO will keep working hard to ensure that the Commission’s recommendations are taken up, so that charities are not restricted from participating fully in the democratic process.

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