Jenna Pudelek in Third Sector Magazine (11 February, 2014) has reported that, in response to a letter from Sir Stephen Bubb, Labour is committed to “undoing the damage” of the lobbying act, according to Angela Eagle, shadow leader of the House of Commons.
“Eagle, the MP for Wallasey, was responding to a call from Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, for the three main parties to include in their election manifestos repeal of part 2 of the act, which contains the sections that charities are most concerned about.
“Sir Stephen Bubb last week wrote to David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, the leaders of the three main political parties, saying charities must be open and transparent, but “we will not and should not accept that the government has the right to muzzle charities in this way and chill democracy”.
“In a statement, he said the act would exert a “sinister influence on the charity sector’s voice” and urged the three party leaders to stand up for charities and campaigning organisations by repealing the “unfair and unworkable” provisions of the act at the earliest opportunity.
“A Cabinet Office spokesman said in response to Bubb’s letter: “As the legislation went through parliament, the government spoke to more than 50 organisations and made important changes to address the concerns raised while preserving the core purpose of the bill.
“In addition, the rules will be reviewed after the 2015 general election to make absolutely certain they are working in the way we intend. The government hopes Acevo and everyone with an interest in a transparent political system will work with us and the Electoral Commission to implement a revised system that works.”
Commenting on the responses from Westminster to his call to undo the Lobbying Act’s damage, ACEVO CEO Sir Stephen Bubb said:
“It’s welcome news that Labour has responded to the sector’s concerns and committed to undoing the damage caused by the misguided Lobbying Act. We will continue to make the case on behalf of the sector. Civil society’s voice cannot and will not be fettered.”