The government's Lobbying Transparency Bill is a sham that will not open up the UK's £2 billion lobbying industry in any meaningful way.
As currently drafted, it is questionable whether it will even force the PM's campaign adviser Lynton Crosby to reveal his corporate clients.
The government is currently proposing to exclude the vast majority of the industry from its register of lobbyists; and those that will be covered by the new rules will not have to provide any meaningful information, merely a list of their clients. This is a fake transparency register.
A genuine lobbying register, as adopted by the US, Canada and other countries, would cover the whole of the lobbying industry and allow us to scrutinise:
• who is lobbying whom
• what they are seeking to influence
• and how much they are spending trying to do it.
ALT members Spinwatch and Unlock Democracy have put together a draft Bill for what a genuine register should look like in the UK. While we are not experts in drafting legislation, it is based on lobbying transparency regulations from around the world and is the benchmark by which we will judge the government's proposals. It is intended to stimulate proper debate about what a UK lobbying register should look like.
The government's attempt at a register is a sham. It has been described as 'possibly one of the worse pieces of legislation ever to have been drafted'. Widely derided by the lobbying industry, transparency campaigners, politicians and the public, it will make lobbying less transparent not more.
The government is trying to fool the public into thinking that it is tackling lobbying, when this Bill does nothing of the sort. We must not let it become law in its current form. Please write to your MP today and ask them to put pressure on the minister in charge, Andrew Lansley to make this Bill much more robust.
Download our draft bill for what a genuine register should look like and tell us what you think.