Labour will scrap the Gagging Law


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I look forward to working with you to make sure the gagging law is repealed.’”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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  1. MrChekaMan April 3, 2014 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    I will believe that when I see it. Obviously-yay if they do, but the law is written to benefit any party that is in power.

  2. beastrabban April 3, 2014 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    This should be excellent news. At last someone in the Labour leadership is taking Cameron’s attack on democracy and free speech seriously.

  3. Smiling Carcass April 4, 2014 at 6:19 am - Reply

    Too thin; they’ll have to offer a lot more than repealing the gagging law to win my vote again- a hell of a lot more

  4. sdbast April 4, 2014 at 6:21 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  5. jeffrey davies April 4, 2014 at 11:14 am - Reply

    yes yesterday I had my reply back from ed just like you but one wonders promises are made to be broken and deleted it seems

    • Mike Sivier April 4, 2014 at 11:19 am - Reply

      Have you read my new article on ‘negative campaigning’ yet?

  6. Florence April 4, 2014 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    The question has to be – what will the gagging act do to the next election? I can see that the elections will not be free or fair, which must have some impact on Labour, or anyone else in opposition to the unelected Condems, being able to get the message across.

    Labour has said it will repeal the bedroom tax, and now he gagging laws, and I hope that it’s not too late for them to put together a serious manifesto that will provide hope, because after the last 5 years, hope is about all we’ve got left (well, anger & disappointment too, at the Tories, but that was always going to happen).

    I agree it is very difficult to maintain any faith in the parties to actually do anything they promise once elected (or not, in the case of the ConDems). But we must start to believe change is possible, and re-engage in the political process, or we will make the Tories wish come true. I for one will never stop believing in the essential goodness of our people, and that the Welfare State is the embodiment of that.

    If we don’t engage, the ConDems wil walk away with victory by default. Or perhaps victory by propaganda, which for the last 4 years has been spent telling us all that there is no alternative to permanent austerity, that we can’t afford a decent social security system, that we can’t afford the Health or Education systems, or social housing, or decent wages, or that Labour and not the Banks and their political puppets the Tories were to blame for the recession.

    Do we really want that to happen?

  7. kittysjones April 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    I am pleased they listened and as you know, I was also involved in the bedroom tax, NHS and ATOS/WCA campaigns. amongst others. They do listen to us.

    Next we need the Legal Aid Bill overturned :-)

    • Mike Sivier April 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      Good choice.

      • kittysjones April 4, 2014 at 6:02 pm - Reply

        someone from 38 degrees has just said the only responses they ever get are from Miliband.

        Labour are still doing public consultations, people can influence policy that way too, by getting involved, as well as writing directly to the party on key issues. x

  8. kittysjones April 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Here’s what’s been pledged so far, with other stuff on the table. It has to be costed and evidenced to be pledged, which takes time and work. But evidence based policy is democratic,and better than the alternative –

  9. Guy Ropes April 4, 2014 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Are you seriously going to vote for a politician that has to be PERSUADED to adopt this stance on a matter of such supreme importance? I’ll believe him (or anyone else) when they fly to Moscow and shake Edward Snowden’s hand in public.

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