Lobbying register rethink hopes quashed

Today's delay to the lobbying bill does not amount to a rethink of proposals for a lobbying register, the Cabinet Office has stated.

Parliament: pauses the Transparency of Lobbying bill
Parliament: pauses the Transparency of Lobbying bill

Deputy Lords leader Lord Wallace announced a pause in Parliament's scrutiny of the second part of the bill, affecting charity campaigning, until at least 16 December.

He said: "In that period I and my other colleagues in government responsible for this bill will consult widely with all the interested parties - members of this House and the many others outside."

The move initially inspired hopes from lobbying industry trade bodies that the scope of the proposed register could be widened to all professional lobbyists, for which they have pushed.

However, after the Cabinet Office stated the pause would not impact on the first part of the bill, which relates to the register, the CIPR reacted with frustration.

"This is extremely disappointing. We’ve consistently flagged up significant problems with the proposal that exist in part one of the bill and they are at least as significant as the problems of part two in the bill," the institute’s director of policy and communications Phil Morgan said.

"It’s difficult to see why part two of the bill should be given more time and we don’t get a fresh chance to look at the lobbying register."

PRCA director general Francis Ingham commented: "The Government should see this as a golden opportunity to widen the pausing of part two to the rest of this badly thought through bill."

The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill is currently passing through the House of Lords.

It was approved in principle by the House of Commons in September despite widespread criticism.

This story was updated on Wednesday morning.

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