Bill Esterson MP: David Cameron's lobbying bill is fixing Britis

Bill Esterson


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said instead of "repairing our broken politics" David Cameron was only 'fixing' British politics for wealthy special interest and pressure groups with the government's 'lobbying bill'.

The Tory-Lib Dem Government has drawn up a bill which was supposedly designed to make the scandal of big business and pressure group lobbying of MPs more transparent.

But instead, the Tory-Lib Dem Government has drawn up a bill which does not stop big business lobbyists from lobbying the government, but puts a stranglehold on charities.

The cross-party Political and Constitutional Reform Committee said the lobbying bill was "flawed".

While the bill will hamper the work of charities, it fails to stop much of the lobbying industry.

Bill Esterson said this was another example of David Cameron looking after his friends.

Bill said: "David Cameron promised to fix our broken politics, but the lobbying Bill makes things worse, not better.

"Only David Cameron could present a lobbying bill that wouldn’t stop lobbyist Lynton Crosby from advising the Prime Minister on tobacco policy, but could stop an organisation like Cancer Research UK from campaigning about it. No wonder the public think David Cameron stands up for the wrong people. 

"The government will not stop 99% of lobbyists from meeting ministers but it will stop charities from campaigning. 

"In 2010 David Cameron wanted the Big Society to be a more important part of life in this country. He said he wanted more people to volunteer in our communities. Now his own Conservative government, propped up by the Lib Dems remember, is stopping charities from the doing the work that he said he wanted them to do. 

"Under the Tories and Lib Dems it’s one rule for big business and the people who represent them and quite another for voluntary organisations and charities.

"He is gagging charities and local organisations and making it more difficult for them to hold the Tories and Lib Dems to account for their appalling record in government."

Despite the concerns of charities and other organisations, the bill was forced through Parliament this week. It is scheduled to go before MPs again next week for its committee stage.

Bill said he and the rest of his Labour colleagues will be opposing the bill.

He said: "As it stands, this is a bad bill and that is why we voted against it in parliament. This bill amounts to a gag on charities and campaigners and is a desperate attempt by the government to prevent their record and policies from being criticised and scrutinised at a local level. 

"The legislation needs to be completely changed so that it does not discriminate against charities, trade unions and local organisations. The government is clearly trying to help big business gain access to government but stop charities and other community groups and representatives of ordinary people from campaigning on the issues they care about. 

"As an example, this legislation would probably stop groups in Sefton from campaigning to protect the green belt and whatever your view on the plans to build on the green belt, it can’t be right for the Tories and Lib Dems to stop people having their say on such a controversial issue.

"The government must go back to the drawing board and come forward with proposals for genuine reform. Only Labour will deliver the real reform our politics so badly needs."



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