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140403gag

I’m not saying someone in the Labour Party read Vox Political‘s massively popular article on the passing of the Transparency of Lobbying And Lots of Other Nonsense Act in Parliament, but the mention of free speech and the right to campaign (free protest) does indicate they’ve been paying attention to someone.

I’ve received the following from a commenter, Pat. It’s self-explanatory:

“This is the email i received this evening from Ed Miliband

“’Thank you for getting in touch with me about the gagging law. I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you.

“‘To hear from thousands of you was inspiring. It galvanised my belief that when people can stand up like you did and hold politicians to account our democracy is alive and well. And I have no intention of allowing the Tories and Lib Dems to silence you.

“‘So I want you to be the first to know: a Labour government will repeal David Cameron’s gagging law.

“‘I have been clear from the start that I oppose this gag on charities and campaigners, which was introduced with little consultation. If Labour wins the next election, we will remove it from the statute book.

“‘In its place we will legislate for real reform of lobbying, and we will consult with charities and campaigners on the reforms we need to both ensure transparency and protect freedom of speech.

“‘There is much wrong with this law — and that’s why we’re taking a stand against it. You had some specific questions for me in your original email. Here are specific answers.

“‘If we win the election next year, the Labour government I lead will:

  • Repeal the changes to non-party campaigning rules, which create such an illiberal gag on charities and campaigners (i.e. the Section 2 you mentioned in your email to me)
  • We will hold a full consultation with charities and campaigners to determine what reform we need in its place
  • We will ensure that any reform we bring in will both ensure transparency in elections and protect freedom of speech

“‘Thank you again for raising this issue with me. The health of our democracy depends on people’s right to campaign on the issues they care about. It must be protected.

I look forward to working with you to make sure the gagging law is repealed.’”

Any questions?

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