Lobbyists are paid to influence government decisions. There are some 4000 people working professionally in the UK's £2billion influence industry.
Many lobbyists are former MPs, some are Peers, or ex-senior officials, partners and neighbours of Cabinet Ministers, former flatmates and old colleagues of current politicians.
It's the lobbyists' job to try and shape the decisions of politicians and public officials: to mould government policy, delay or water down laws and regulations, and secure government contracts worth billions of pounds.
The biggest spenders on lobbying are large companies, for whom lobbying is a tactical investment: the aim of it is to benefit their bottom line, often against the public interest.
At the moment in the UK, we've no right to know who is lobbying whom, and for what.
We think the public should know who is influencing government decisions. And we're not alone. Over half the country thinks that lobbyists have too much influence in politics, and three quarters of people now support a register of lobbyists.
A register of lobbyists would allow us to see who is lobbying whom, for what and how much money is being spent trying to influence government decisions. It's a straightforward system: lobbyists are required to regularly list this information on a public register.
Registers have existed in other countries for decades, but despite having the third biggest lobbying industry in the world (after Washington and Brussels), lobbyists are still able to operate in secret in the UK.
This could be about to change. The coalition government has agreed in principle to open up lobbying with a register. But their current proposals are a sham.
A genuine register of lobbyists, as seen in the US, Canada, Brussels and elsewhere, is founded on two basic principles:
The government has committed to introducing a statutory register of lobbyists. This give us a rare opportunity to expose the influence industry, and help change the back-room deal nature of politics.
Find out what you can do to make sure it happens.