17/07/13 Reverse order Timestamp format
The government is due to publish legislation on lobbying at 14.15 after PMQs
The PRCA has highlighted four key areas by which the lobbying bill will be judged.
A busy day for the APPC
The CIPR is launching its first #CIPRCHAT, on the appropriate topic of the future of lobbying. It kicks of at 4pm, all the details here http://newsroom.cipr.co.uk/cipr-launches-ciprchat/
As we wait, here's dep ed Alec Mattinson on the bill, concluding that the government is spending a lot of effort on the estimated 5 per cent of consultancies not already signed up to the APPC and its voluntary register.
Cameron's response at PMQs to questioning on Lynton Crosby's lobbying links makes today's lunch time news on the BBC.
Labour continue to push Cameron on Crosby
Politics.co.uk reports that Labour has asked the cabinet secretary to investigate if Cameron broke ministerial code.
The bill in full. Will have second reading in parliament tomorrow.
Andrew Lansley, Leader of the House of Commons, on the bill:
From the beginning, this Government has believed that ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant’. So we have been the most transparent Government ever, publishing an unprecedented amount of information so that the public can see as much as possible of the workings of government, and hold us to account for the decisions we make. This Bill is about extending that transparency further to give the public more confidence in the way third parties interact with the political system.
Chloe Smith, rather quiet on the issue in the past, says:
British democracy needs lively debate, campaigning and lobbying to maintain an open and fair society in which citizens have a voice and the Government listens. But the involvement of campaign groups and other organisations, whether through lobbying government or public campaigning, must be done in a transparent and open way.
We’re striking the balance between making sure the external influence on politics is open and accountable, without deterring people from coming forward and making their views known to the Government and to the public.
And from Tom Brake, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons:
The Government is delivering practical solutions to concerns about undue and unaccountable influence. With these reforms, people will know more than ever about who is seeking to influence Government and the results of elections.
MPs and special advisers excluded, bill only covers act of lobbying ministers and permanent secretaries
Only applies to those paid to lobby on behalf of a third-party
Sanctions include a maximum civil penalty of £7,500
Full story now up on PRWeek http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/1191700/statutory-lobbying-register-apply-agencies-only/
Interesting from NCVO (National council of voluntary organisations): plans to create a code of good practice for charities involved in lobbying due to narrow scope of bill.
The organisation also tweeted that the bill is 'a missed opportunity to restore trust in politics. People have a right to know who is trying to influence policy and why.'
'Charities aren't generally thought to be part of the lobbying problem, but should nevertheless maintain high standards of transparency...'
The TUC, unsurprisingly, has criticised the bill for failing 'to tackle rich corporate lobbyists.'
PLMR's Kevin Craig sounds exasperated with the whole thing, tweeting:
lobbying bill a total waste of time. Law firms that lobby? Accountancy firms? in-house lobbyists? pointless party poiltical legislation.
PRCA's Francis Ingham has come to the same conclusion as Anderson
'unfair and unfit for purpose' 'deeply disappointing' and public affairs industry's advice completely ignored during consultation - PRCA
Full comment from PRCA's Francis Ingham
This is a deeply disappointing bill that is both unfair and unfit for purpose. It is unfair because it singles out a tiny group of consultancies, most of whom are already on existing voluntary registers, and who have had nothing to do with recent parliamentary scandals – they already embrace transparency and ethical practice. It is unfit for purpose as it will not cover the vast majority of the industry who lobby. The Government will not meet its own objective of increasing transparency; instead it is likely to cover fewer organisations than on existing voluntary registers whilst adding an exorbitant regulatory burden on those that do register.
And from PRCA Public Affairs Group chairman Emily Wallace:
This is a Transparency of Lobbying Bill that does next to nothing to increase transparency in Lobbying. The Bill marks a huge failure to embrace transparency and has missed a significant opportunity to restore public faith in politicians and our political institutions.
Neither the man in the Dog and Duck nor the woman in the Hare and Hound will understand the logic of a lobbying register which applies only to a small proportion of lobbyists.
“The professional lobbying industry has consistently and persistently called for greater transparency, we want to ‘shine a light ‘ on the legitimate role we play in informing policy making, this Bill does little to help.
Nikki da Costa of Bellenden points out the bill has too many loop-holes
Hanover's Charles Lewington will be discussing the lobbying bill on BBC R4 World Tonight later
Patrick Wintour, Guardian political editor tweets:
Lobbyists delighted. Will only need to join statutory register if they orally or in writing lobby a minister or permanent secretary.
Unlock Democracy have created a nice visualisation based on the approximation that 80% of those who lobby will not covered by register.
'Disgraceful' says Ketchum's Jo-ann Robertson:
The government's Impact Assessment on the need for the bill states:
The current system of self-regulation does little to address the issue due to the voluntary nature of the industry-hosted register of lobbyists. Removing this information asymmetry will hence require a statutory register of consultant lobbyists.
Cost estimates for the register are based on the Australian one '... the most similar registrar to the proposed model'
Cost of statutory register to lobbying industry estimated to be £300,000 per year.
PRCA lobby government on lobbying bill, but wouldn't be required to register
Option of register covering in-house lobbyists would have been double the estimated cost of the consultant-only register, according to impact assessment.
Read the impact assessment here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/223834/Lobbying_Impact_Assessment.pdf
The CIPR tweets that the Cabinet Office has confirmed the second reading of the lobbying bill will not now happen tomorrow.
Cabinet Office says the second reading of the bill was not planned for tomorrow in the first place
From the PRCA:
There will be a handful of public affairs practitioners who work in agencies and meet with ministers or permanent secretaries.
Therefore covering the costs of the regulator will be incredibly onerous for the very small number of people who are expected to pay.
Latest from PRWeek: Trade bodies attack lobbying bill http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/1191747/trade-bodies-attack-lobbying-bills-weak-definition-cost-implications/
The 'narrow' definition of the activity will reduce transparency and amplify costs.
Labour has outlined the amendments it will make to the lobbying bill: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rldpb1