The UK has the third largest lobbying industry in the world, behind Washington and Brussels. But unlike them, the vast majority of lobbying at Westminster goes on without public knowledge. The UK’s lobbying register, introduced in 2014, has utterly failed to make lobbying more transparent, attracting criticism from campaigners, lobbying industry bodies and politicians from all parties. As Britain prepares to leave the EU, the Times warns that “lobbyists...are positioning for a Brexit bonanza”, but we have virtually no information on their activities.
Unlock Democracy has been working with Lord Brooke to table the Lobbying (Transparency) Bill. would scrap the current bogus lobbying register and replace it with a more comprehensive one. This register would cover all paid lobbyists and would require them to state:
- Who they are lobbying
- Who they are lobbying for
- What they are seeking to influence
- How much they are spending
The Bill would bring the UK into line with other institutions such as the US, EU and Scotland. It’s time for Theresa May to put clear blue water between her and Cameron. She can set the tone for her Premiership by backing real lobbying transparency.
There is an urgent need for Parliamentary and public scrutiny of those that seek to influence this government at this critical time. A strong register would give the public the power to know who is seeking to influence whom - and what they are seeking to change. This is essential to rebuild public trust in politics, dented by lobbying scandals.
Please sign up to register your support for this proposed new law here, so we can keep you in touch with our upcoming campaigns and activities.