When Holly Walker’s Lobbying Disclosure members bill was first drawn, most of the lobbyists in the country quickly insisted there wasn’t any need for such a bill, which suggests that there is an urgent need for this bill. Now Labour has decided that the lobbyists that lobby Labour are the good sort of lobbyists and should be exempt from disclosure. DPF transcribes an interview with
Demosthenes David Shearer on the issue:
It is more of what I was just saying before umm ethan is that, you know I get you know trade unions or say salvation army or whatever they are standing up for rights of you know workers or rights of the poor or whatever, or whatever it is likely to be. Umm I don’t look to gain have had any sort of, I don’t look to have any material gain from that as a, as a as an MP–but there is what the the idea was is to try and capture the you know the various sort of business and corporate interests that might you know in a sense be trying to do sort of what you know they do offshore (not sure happens here?) is to buy buy politicans off”
Firstly, if you redraft the law so that there are exemptions for some bodies but exclude corporations, corporations will simply set up bodies that qualify for those exemptions and lobby through them. So this amendment would render the entire bill pointless.
Secondly, does Labour really think they need to conceal the fact that they’re lobbied by trade unions and social justice organisations? The fact that they want to hide their lobbying from public scrutiny is way more sinister than the actual lobbying. (At least, I hope it is.)