An important piece of legislation is coming up for second reading in Parliament next week and we thought you’d be interested in hearing about what’s going on.
Along with many other non-governmental organisations, charities and campaigning groups, the ERS has become increasingly concerned about the latest changes to the Government’s Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill.
We’ve written to the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, Chloe Smith MP, to express our concern that one consequence of the Bill could be that small campaigning organisations like the ERS are unfairly constrained and penalised. We are particularly alarmed that the new financial limits to be placed on NGOs during election years could undermine our ability to function as a modern campaigning body. You can read our blog about it and the Electoral Commission has published a useful update outlining the problems with the Bill here
While the ERS is broadly supportive of the principles of greater transparency in relation to lobbyists, we have stressed to Chloe Smith that a strong democracy relies on its citizens’ ability to participate in the battle of ideas in the lead up to an election. A vibrant general election campaign relies on diverse participation from across civil society.
We are concerned that should the Bill be passed in its current form, the ability of the ERS and many other charities and NGOs to raise important issues could be severely limited. We have asked the Minister to take our concerns into consideration and urgently clarify the consequences of the Bill.
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Electoral Reform Society