The chairman of the Commons standards committee has warned MPs could face restrictions on campaigning about national issues under the new lobbying Bill.
The Guardian reports charities have already complained the bill could have a “chilling effect” on their campaigning, and Kevin Barron, a senior Labour MP, has now warned that politicians could fall within its ambit. He said it was unclear whether MPs raising awareness about non-constituency business could be caught within the transparency of lobbying, non-party campaigning and trade union administration bill, which has its second reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
And the Commons committee which has been examining the Bill held emergency sessions last week to discuss concerns about what its chairman called “rushed and ridiculous” proposals.
Labour MP Graham Allen, who chairs the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, said the Bill would not open up the £2 billion lobbying industry to effective scrutiny. “Instead of addressing the Prime Minister’s promise to ‘shine the light of transparency’ on lobbying, this flawed legislation will mean we’ll all be back in a year facing another scandal. It is a dog’s breakfast.”
Andrew Lansley defended the government’s record on transparency telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are working on that, we have been improving this, we have been introducing this for the first time.
“We are more up to date now in terms of publishing ministers’ diaries so we do it within the quarter following the quarter in which the meeting took place and we are making sure as we do that that it is more accessible in terms of what the subjects were and more accessible online.”