Industry definition of lobbying put forward for debate by Tory MP

Conservative MP Anne Main has tabled the public affairs industry's definition of lobbying as an amendment to the lobbying bill.

Parliament could be debating the industry definition of lobbying next week after Anne Main's amendment
Parliament could be debating the industry definition of lobbying next week after Anne Main's amendment

According to Main's office her motivation for supporting the definition is concern over a specific case of lobbying for a rail freight terminal to be built in her St Albans constituency, which she claims is an example that needs to be covered by the legislation.

If her amendment is selected for a vote at the committee discussions on the bill next week, MPs will have a chance to change what the industry has criticised as a too narrow definition of lobbying.

The draft bill proposes that a statutory register be established, to regulate lobbying that takes place in the course of a business and in return for payment on behalf of another person, and involves written or oral communications with ministers and permanent secretaries.

Main has put forward an amendment to that clause that very closely resembles the wider definition produced by the PRCA, the CIPR and the APPC with the help of a parliamentary draftsman in April.

This definition of a lobbyist applies to people acting on behalf of a client, an employer, on their own behalf or as a volunteer on behalf of a charitable or other organisation.

It defines ‘consultant lobbying’ as activities carried out in the course of a business for the purpose of influencing government or advising others how to influence government.

It defines government as including:

  • central government, devolved government and local government
  • members and staff of either House of Parliament or of a devolved legislature
  • ministers and officials
  • public authorities (within the meaning of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998)

 

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