Lobbying is a serious, but normally invisible feature of our politics. The thousands of commercial lobbyists whose paid job it is to influence the decisions taken by our government, operate below the radar.
We think the public should know who is having a quiet word with our politicians.
This is why we are campaigning for decent transparency rules that would let us all know who is influencing government decisions.
If you have ever written to your MP, you are lobbying. You are attempting to influence the decisions of politicians.
In theory, lobbying is central to our idea of democracy. We petition. Government listens.
In practice, lobbying – in the context of the UK's £2bn commercial influence industry – corrupts our democracy. Corporations and wealthy individuals are spending billions of pounds on lobbying to bend governments to their will. They petition to shape policy in their interests; to delay or water down laws that threaten profits; and to secure government contracts worth billions of pounds.
It all goes on behind closed doors, and the public interest doesn't get a look in.
You can’t ban lobbying. But you can bring it into the light.
Lobbyists know that they are most effective, when no one is watching. At the moment, deals can be done with politicians without any public scrutiny.
All that we are asking here is that the blinds be opened, so that we can see who is in the room, what they are talking about and with whom.
The simplest way of achieving this transparency is with a register of lobbyists.