The Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC), TUC and Unlock Democracy have come together to campaign for the inclusion of all lobbyists in the proposed Lobbying Bill. The joint campaign is seeking to encourage heads of charities, unions, private corporations, campaign groups, consultancies, lobbying firms or law firms to sign their “1% is not enough” petition which states “We believe the Government’s planned lobbying register is deeply flawed and would result in less than 1% of lobbying activity being publicly registered. We call on the Government in the strongest possible terms to amend its proposals to ensure that 100% of professional lobbyists – to include those working in-house, for trade unions, for charities, for think tanks, for lobbying agencies, for law firms and accountancy firms - are all part of a statutory registration regime in the UK".
Michael Burrell, Chair of the APPC, said “In registering only third-party consultants – and amongst them only those who conduct a “substantial” proportion of their work as lobbying business – the Government’s bill will not even succeed in capturing all agency lobbyists – the very lowest benchmark of success that the Government has set itself. The Government must go back to the drawing board and bring forward a bill that covers 100% of lobbyists working in the UK.”
Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy, said “The extremely narrow definition of lobbying combined with the definition of consultant lobbyist risk making lobbying in the UK less transparent.”
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said “We need more openness and debate about how we are governed. This bad bill does the opposite, excluding most lobbyists and hobbling free speech. The government should withdraw it and start again, proceeding through consultation and consensus building to create rules that both work in practice and command wide support.”