Lobbyists pervert our democracy – stop them

A campaign group, 38 Degrees, is striving to curtail the power that lobbyists have over parliamentarians, and have this to say:

We often feel like government doesn’t listen enough to us, and listens too much to paid lobbyists working for special interests. Whether it’s arms deals, tobacco advertising, GM food, or new runways and power stations, companies pay people to try to influence government. Currently we’ve no right to know what these lobbyists are up to.

We have a chance right now to stop this secrecy. A powerful committee of MPs has told the government it’s time to force lobbyists to register their activities[1]. This would mean we could see who’s lobbying whom, and why. The government has just said it will make a decision on whether or not to act this month. The minister in charge says she hasn’t made her mind up yet. That means we’ve got a chance right now to persuade the government to put a stop to secret lobbying.

Please click here to tell the government minister it’s time to rein lobbyists in.

We’ll be delivering our petition to the minister in charge, Angela Smith, as she starts her last week at work before her summer break. We know that this is when she’ll be deciding whether or not to introduce a register for lobbyists. We also know that behind closed doors paid lobbyists will be asking her to let them stay in the shadows. Let’s make sure we drown their voices out with a powerful public demand for change.

A month ago we ran a poll on where we should focus to tackle the crisis in politics. Over 80% of us said tackling lobbyists should be a priority. So we’ve teamed up with the Alliance For Lobbying Transparency [2]. Many different organisations who’ve seen the bad effects of secret lobbying are coming together to demand the government acts now. With politicians desperate to start to regain public trust, and influential groups of MPs on our side, now is our chance to clean up lobbying for good.

Please help make our petition a powerful message to Angela Smith.

Thanks for getting involved,

David, Hannah, Warren, Nina and the 38 Degrees Team

[1] The Public Administration Select Committee, which has issued a report called “Lobbying: Access and influence in Whitehall” http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmpubadm/36/36i.pdf. Sir Christopher Kelly, Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, also says he supports a register.

[2] The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency includes organisations such as Action Aid, Campaign Against Arms Trade, Greenpeace, National Union of Journalists, SpinWatch and the World Development Movement.

To find out more, please visit www.38degrees.org.uk

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