Tag Archives: lobbying

Lobbying corruption: Johnson caught promising Covid tax breaks to Dyson – who then provided NOTHING

Boris Johnson and James Dyson: could any of us have won tax breaks from the prime minister, if only we’d had his personal phone number?

Boris Johnson offered to “fix” the tax status of Dyson staff so they could work in the UK to provide ventilators in last year’s Covid-19 crisis – after Dyson sent a text message to the prime minister’s personal phone.

Dyson went on to provide absolutely no ventilators at all. Did his employees still get preferential tax status?

That is just one of the important questions that Johnson didn’t answer during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday.

The revelation is the latest development in the lobbying-related corruption scandal that began when former PM David Cameron’s activities on behalf of now-collapsed financier Greensill Capital came to light.

The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg reported that

the PM assured businessman Sir James Dyson that his employees would not have to pay extra tax if they came to the UK to make ventilators during the pandemic.

Sir James, whose firm is now based in Singapore, wrote to the Treasury to ask for no change in tax status for staff.

But the BBC has seen text messages sent in March 2020 that show Sir James then went directly to the PM, with Mr Johnson replying: “I will fix it.”

She added, in an opinion piece on the subject,

There are thousands of different circumstances in which having those discussions is perfectly valid.

What about however, when the most powerful politician in the country sends a direct message to an influential businessman promising: “I will fix it tomo”?

A good question – and one that Johnson was asked (if not in so many words) by Keir Starmer shortly after midday yesterday (April 21).

He asked: “What is the right thing to do if he receives a text from a billionaire Conservative supporter asking him to fix tax rules.”

Johnson replied: “I make absolutely no apology for doing everything I could to secure ventilators for the people of this country.”

The trouble is, of course, that he didn’t secure any ventilators, despite having fixed tax rules for his supporter.

He said he had done “everything I could” so we may conclude that he did change the rules for Dyson employees.

But – I reiterate – Dyson did not provide any ventilators:

So we need to know what Dyson did with the tax breaks his firm received and whether he still benefits from them now, despite not having done what he promised to do.

Or did Johnson lie about doing “everything” he could?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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‘Lobbying’ Act is performing exactly as intended: Stopping charities from campaigning

Introduced in 2014 and dubbed the ‘charity-gagging law’, the Lobbying Act provides a set of rules for charities that publicly campaign in the run-up to elections [Image: Getty].


We knew this would happen when the so-called Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act was imposed on the UK, back in 2014. It was labelled the “Gagging Act”, for crying out loud!

And we had hard evidence of it in February 2015 – more than two years ago, when John Pring of Disability News Service wrote: “Disability organisations have been intimidated by new lobbying laws – and the risk of losing government contracts – into failing to campaign on key issues like social care and welfare reform in the run-up to the general election, say disabled campaigners.

“They fear that the “sinister” impact of last year’s Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act [also known as the ‘Gagging’ Act], and the trend towards funding charities through government contracts to provide services, are ‘closing down all debate’.”

I remember attending meetings with my MP, who at the time was the Liberal Democrat Roger Williams. He made promise after promise to stand up for free speech – to our faces – then went back to Westminster and told us that cosmetic changes made by the Conservatives meant there was nothing to worry about.

We all knew that wasn’t true, and in the 2015 general election Mr Williams was replaced…

By a Conservative!

Local politics is insane. And the “Gagging Act” has been given free rein to live up to its name.

Labour has vowed to repeal it – but Labour is not in office, due to bizarre decisions by the voting public in June this year. Perhaps it’s time to vote sanely?

More than 100 charities have warned that they are being gagged by controversial government legislation that they claim is preventing them from campaigning on issues affecting the poorest and most marginalised groups in society.

An open letter signed by 122 organisations including Save the Children, Greenpeace and Christian Aid says campaigning is being “lost” from public debate due to the “draconian” requirements of the Lobbying Act.

Dubbed the “charity-gagging law”, it dictates what charities can do publicly in the 12-month run-up to elections in order to ensure individuals or organisations cannot have an undue influence over the vote.

Given the possibility of a snap election, charities say they are not able to carry out political campaigns now for fear of being hit with retrospective fines.

Read more: More than 100 charities claim they are being gagged by anti-lobbying rules


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Torygraph Launches Scathing Attack On Commons Standards Commissioner After Rifkind/Straw Ruling

Painful though it is to agree with the Torygraph, the paper is absolutely right to go for Kathryn Hudson’s jugular in its editorial about her ruling on the Rifkind/Straw cases.

It seems that, rather than investigating MPs and uncovering wrongdoing, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is more interested in defending them against any investigation or criticism.

Where the Telegraph editorial questions whether she is fit to hold her post, This Writer would question whether that post should be dissolved altogether and potential wrongdoing by MPs referred to the police – preferably to be investigated by a force not directly connected to the Member in question or Parliament itself.

In her ruling, Kathryn Hudson, criticised the journalists who broke the story, commenting: “The distorted coverage of the actions and words of the Members concerned has itself been the main cause of the damage.

“If in their coverage of this story, the reporters for Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph had accurately reported what was said by the two Members in their interviews, and measured their words against the rules of the House, it would have been possible to avoid the damage that has been done to the lives of two individuals.”

But the Telegraph retorted with its own scathing editorial this week, saying the “sorry tale” of both ex-MPs proved “beyond doubt” that those in the Commons could not be trusted to regulate themselves over lobbying.

“Ms Hudson’s credulity towards MPs raises questions about whether she is fit to hold her post,” leader writers wrote, “yet her performance is laudable in comparison with the egregious work of the Standards Committee.

“Far from accepting any error by Sir Malcolm or Mr Straw, or any flaw in the rules they so nimbly stepped around, the committee suggests that the failing here lies with the public for not properly “understanding” the role of MPs.

It continued, saying: “That is bad enough. Worse are the committee’s words on the press. It is only because of investigative journalism that the conduct of Sir Malcolm and Mr Straw became known to the voters they were supposed to serve.

“Yet the committee’s report amounts to a warning to journalists not to carry out such investigations in future, promising to ‘consider further the role of the press in furthering
understanding and detecting wrongdoing’.”

Source: Daily Telegraph Launches Scathing Attack On Commons Standard Commissioner After Rifkind/Straw Ruling

Rifkind and Straw didn’t break lobbying rules – it seems they only offered

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Not the only Tory suspected of wrong-doing.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Not the only Tory suspected of wrong-doing.

Parliament’s standards commissioner, Kathryn Hudson, has let former MPs Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw off the hook after they were accused of corruption – but is this because they only offered to break the rules, rather than actually breaking them?

Rifkind and Straw were filmed secretly by Channel 4’s Dispatches documentary programme, speaking with an undercover reporter posing as a representative of a fake Hong Kong firm, ‘PMR’.

This representative asked Sir Malcolm if he would be able to provide advance information on HS3 – the mooted high-speed train route linking the northeast of England with the northwest.

He was recorded saying: “I could write to a minister… And I wouldn’t name who was asking… But I would say I’ve been asked to establish what your thinking is on X, Y, Z. Can you tell me what that is?”

Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said on the programme: “It’s absolutely clear in the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament that they have to be open and frank in all communications and yet he was saying on that clip that he would be able to write to ministers, and he wouldn’t have to say who exactly he was representing.

“Well that would be a clear breach of the Code of Conduct and an example of, here, an experienced Member of Parliament rather using their privileged position as a public servant in trying to get access to information which would benefit individuals and this company in a way that I think the public would find totally unacceptable.”

But of course, he didn’t actually do it, because PMR was a fictitious company.

Jack Straw was filmed telling an undercover reporter how he managed to get Ukrainian law changed in order to allow another company to run its business more easily there – a perfectly legal and reasonable activity, according to Dispatches.

But then he said that EU regulations had been hampering the business so he “got in to see the relevant director general and his officials in Brussels” and got the regulations changed. He said: “The best way of doing things is under the radar.”

Sir Alistair Graham pointed out, on the programme: “That’s worrying because that’s saying ‘I can do these things without transparency’ – without the
openness and frankness that the MPs’ Code of Conduct is expecting is the normal behaviour from Members of Parliament.”

But, again, he didn’t actually do anything “under the radar” because PMR was a fictitious company.

So Ms Hudson cleared both former MPs of any wrong-doing – and gave both Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph (with whom the programme had run its investigation as a joint affair) a lashing.

“If in their coverage of this story, the reporters for Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph had accurately reported what was said by the two members in their interviews, and measured their words against the rules of the House, it would have been possible to avoid the damage that has been done to the lives of two individuals and those around them, and to the reputation of the House.”

This seems unreasonable as Dispatches actually filmed both these people making their claims, and measured them against the words of Sir Alistair Graham – and there was plenty of qualification in the voice-over, explaining what was permitted by the rules and what was not.

What was she really saying? That Rifkind and Straw had to carry out their suggestions before they could be accused of anything? Wouldn’t that be leaving things a little late? Fixing the barn door after the horse has bolted, to quote a well-known phrase?

Remember, this is the standards commissioner who was reluctant to examine the case of George Osborne, who paid mortgage interest on his paddock with taxpayers’ money before selling it off with a neighbouring farmhouse for around £1 million and pocketing the cash.

She refused to look into it, saying she had already investigated the case – but an examination of her report revealed no mention of the million-pound paddock at all.

Prime Minister David Cameron was said to have welcomed the commissioner’s whitewash, in a BBC report.

But Channel 4 is standing by its story and has asked broadcasting watchdog Ofcom to investigate the programme. Channel 4 says the programme raised legitimate questions and, in all honesty, this is true.

Let’s hope the result of this investigation takes Ms Hudson down a peg or two. She is long overdue for it.

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Conflict of interest? Tories are planning to legalise bribery and corruption

[Image: Daily Telegraph.]

[Image: Daily Telegraph.]

The Conservative Government is considering whether the public is stupid enough to accept the legalisation of bribery and corruption. And why not – some of us were stupid enough to vote David Cameron back into office, after all.

The pretext is a claim that UK businesses are finding it hard to do business overseas, so apparently it’s Johnny Foreigner’s fault for wanting backhanders before letting our goods into his country.

The government is now consulting on whether facilitation payments – money or goods paid to foreign government officials to perform or speed up their duties – should be re-legalised.

They were banned in the Coalition Government’s Bribery Act of 2011, in which the Conservative Party played a large part – meaning this will be a policy U-turn by the Tories.

Critics have pointed out that the proposed change would undermine the law in other countries along with the UK, as well as global efforts to counter corruption.

And anti-corruption campaigner Transparency International said corporate lobbying appeared to be the basis for the review, rather than evidence. It said 89 per cent of companies surveyed in the Government’s own research (released earlier this month) reported that the Act had no impact on their ability to export.

It seems the pressure to reverse the law is coming from a minority of businesses – who, let’s not forget, are still allowed to lobby the government despite the Transparency of Lobbying Act, which we know was passed to make it harder for those with more legitimate issues to raise them.

So we’re looking at a situation in which businesses want the ability to bribe governments – and our own government is considering allowing it.

Conflict of interest?

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The Conservatives support big business and corruption rather than the electorate

This cartoon by David Simonds, from The Guardian, illustrates the problem - fat-cat businesses back Cameron while the working-class poor can only watch while they starve.

This cartoon by David Simonds, from The Guardian, illustrates the problem – fat-cat businesses back Cameron while the working-class poor can only watch while they starve.

Looking at the headline, one might thing that is a bold claim – but it is what David Cameron’s party supported with their votes yesterday.

The Tories fended off a Labour Opposition Day motion for Parliament to ban MPs from having directorships or consultancies with private business interests with a vote of 287 against the motion, compared with 219 for – a majority of 68.

Shadow Commons Leader Angela Eagle said the public deserved to be “safe in the knowledge” that every MP was working and acting in their interests – and not for somebody paying them.

But her Tory counterpart, William Hague, pretended that unions were a far greater influence on MPs.

In that case, perhaps he should have explained the amount of influence that unions have held over the Coalition Government during the last five years, relative to big business – to illustrate his point.

No such demonstration was forthcoming – because unions have no influence on Tories while businesses dictate the Conservative Party’s every move.

This is what the last five years of Conservative-led Coalition Government have been about, you see – changing the system to make it easier for big business to make a profit – and to pass some of it on to the Tories in donations to party funds.

You won’t see any change in that while Tories are in office.

Labour has already changed its rules to ensure none of its MPs can hold business consultancies or directorships after this year’s general election.

That sends out a clear message about who voters can trust to make the right decisions.

David Cameron, meanwhile, just can’t get anything right.

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Cameron outflanked and outclassed by Miliband on MPs’ second jobs

Triumph: Ed Miliband had David Cameron on the ropes in Prime Minister's Questions.

Triumph: Ed Miliband had David Cameron on the ropes in Prime Minister’s Questions.

That’ll be another win for Ed Miliband this week, then.

Obviously, the topic of the leader exchanges at Prime Minister’s Questions (or Wednesday Shouty Time, for political realists) was always going to be MPs’ second jobs and ‘cash for access’.

Both Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Labour MP Jack Straw were implicated in a ‘hidden camera’ operation to show they were selling their services as MPs for money.

Ed Miliband acted immediately with a plan to stop MPs taking high-paying consultancies and directorships, saying they cannot serve two masters. David Cameron, on the other hand, did nothing – putting him in a weak position before today’s battle began.

It started in civilised fashion: Ed Miliband said the reputation of all members of the House had been “damaged” by the recent revelations, and Cameron responded by saying they were “extremely serious” and it is right they are investigated.

Cameron went on to explain that he is not ruling out further changes on second jobs – but the existing rules should be “properly applied”. Meaning they’re not already? Whose responsibility is that?

Having built up a slight head of steam, Cameron then ruined it by suggesting the government has tightened up the rules on lobbying and introduced a right of recall. We all know that both of these measures pay lip-services to their stated aim, while in fact protecting lobbyists’ access to ministers and helping MPs keep their seats.

Miliband capitalised on this by pointing out that Cameron said – in a 2009 speech before he became Prime Minister – that he would end the practice of “double-jobbing” as he called it then. We all know nothing happened about it after he took office so this was clearly yet another pre-2010 election lie.

Cameron tried to parry by saying Labour’s proposals to ban outside directorships are “not thought through”, repeating a claim made earlier this week that they would allow someone to be a trade union official but not run a family business or shop.

He worsened his position by adding that he believes Parliament is “stronger” if MPs have outside interests. So he’s in favour of the kind of corruption exhibited by Rifkind and Straw?

Clearly, Cameron thought his line on “paid trade union officials” would hammer Miliband down – but the Labour leader batted it away without batting an eyelid. He said he was prepared to add trade union officials to the list of extra jobs that should be banned, in Labour’s motion on the subject to be debated later.

This left Cameron with nowhere to go. He tried to raise the outside earnings of current and former Labour ministers like Tristram Hunt and David Miliband, but the Labour leader said Cameron “talked big” while in opposition and should now “vote for one job – not two”.

Cameron’s final claim, that Labour is “owned lock stock and barrel” by the unions, fell flat following Miliband’s concession on union jobs, while Mr Miliband scored a final hit by pointing out that the Conservatives are controlled by wealthy hedge funds.

Now Cameron is in a corner.

He won’t want to let Labour score a victory by conceding this afternoon’s vote on consultancies and directorships (and now, it seems, trade union officialdom) because it would allow Labour to say it has again changed government policy – and also the rules of Parliament.

But if he opposes the move, then the electorate will see a Conservative Party that works for big business rather than the electorate, and supports corruption.

What is he going to do?

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Foiled! Lords veto Coalition bid to make being ‘annoying’ an arrestable offence

140108ipna

The Conservative-led Coalition government has suffered a major setback in its plan for an oppressive law to criminalise any behaviour that may be deemed a nuisance or annoyance.

The Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill was intended to allow police the power to arrest any group in a public place who constables believe may upset someone. It was rejected by 306 votes to 178, after peers on all sides of the House condemned the proposal as one that would eliminate carol-singing and street preaching, bell-ringing and – of course – political protests.

It seems the Lords are more interested than our would-be tyrants in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Cabinet in the basic assumption of British law – that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

The politics.co.uk website, reporting the government’s defeat, said the new law would have introduced Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAs) to replace Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs).

It explained: “Whereas an Asbo can only be granted if a person or group is causing or threatening to cause ‘harassment, alarm or distress’ to someone else, an Ipna could be approved merely if a judge believes the behaviour in question is ‘capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person’.

“Opinion could have been swayed by a mistake from Lord Faulks, the Tory peer widely expected to shortly become a minister who was asked to give an example of the sort of behaviour which might be captured by the bill.

“He described a group of youths who repeatedly gathered at a specific location, smoking cannabis and playing loud music in a way representing ‘a day-by-day harassment of individuals’.

“That triggered consternation in the chamber as peers challenged him over the word ‘harassment’ – a higher bar than the ‘nuisance or annoyance’ threshold he was arguing in favour of.

“‘I find it difficult to accept a Conservative-led government is prepared to introduce this lower threshold in the bill,’ Tory backbencher Patrick Cormack said.

“‘We are sinking to a lower threshold and in the process many people may have their civil liberties taken away from them.'”

It is the judgement of the general public that this is precisely the intention.

Peers repeatedly quoted Lord Justice Sedley’s ruling in a 1997 high court case, when he declared: “Freedom to only speak inoffensively is not worth having.”

It is interesting to note that the government tried a well-used tactic – making a minor concession over the definition of ‘annoyance’ before the debate took place, in order to win the day. This has served the Coalition well in the past, particularly during the fight over the Health and Social Care Act, in which claims were made about GPs’ role in commissioning services, about the future role of the Health Secretary, and about the promotion of private health organisations over NHS providers.

But today the Lords were not fooled and dismissed the change in agreement with the claim of civil liberties group Liberty, which said – in words that may also be applied to the claims about the Health Act – that they were “a little bit of window dressing” and “nothing substantial has changed“.

A further concession, changing the proposal for an IPNA to be granted only if it is “just and convenient to do so” into one for it to be granted if it targets conduct which could be “reasonably expected to cause nuisance or annoyance” was torpedoed by Lord Dear, who rightly dismissed it as “vague and imprecise“.

That is a criticism that has also been levelled at that other instrument of repression, the Transparency of Lobbying Bill. Lord Blair, the former Metropolitan police commissioner, invited comparison between the two when he described the Antisocial Behaviour Bill in the same terms previously applied to the Lobbying Bill: “This is a piece of absolutely awful legislation.”

The defeat means the Bill will return to the House of Commons, where MPs will have to reconsider their approach to freedom of speech, under the scrutiny of a general public that is now much more aware of the threat to it than when the Bill was first passed by our allegedly democratic representatives.

With a general election only 16 months away, every MP must know that every decision they make could affect their chances in 2015.

We must judge them on their actions.

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Police State Britain: Tories would arrest you for looking at them in a funny way

Antisocial: Under the new legislation, the role of the police as the strong arm of the state will increase; law and order will have increasingly less to do with their job.

Antisocial: Under the new legislation, the role of the police as the strong arm of the state will increase; law and order will have increasingly less to do with their job.

Isn’t it nice for our police that they seem to have had a long time to prepare for the new Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill’s passage into law – as long ago as 2010 they were warning a 12-year-old boy, who wanted to save his youth centre, that they could arrest him.

The Mirror reported at the time that Nicky Wishart was removed from class – by anti-terror police – after he used Facebook to organise a protest outside David Cameron’s constituency office. His innocent request for people to “save our youth centre” was used as evidence against him.

Nicky lives in Cameron’s Witney, Oxfordshire constituency. The paper reported him as saying, “All this is because Mr Cameron is our local MP and it’s a bit embarrassing for him.”

On a personal note, this story bears a strong resemblance to what happened when I submitted my Freedom of Information request on mortality rates for people claiming Employment and Support Allowance/Incapacity Benefit. My own request for anyone else who believes the facts should be known to follow my example was held up as an excuse to dismiss the request as “vexatious” and refuse to answer it – and it is clear that this site continues to be monitored by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Nicky’s story could be repeated many times every day if the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill becomes law.

As Jayne Linney has pointed out in an article I reblogged here today, it criminalises “any behaviour that may be deemed as “nuisance”, or liable to cause annoyance… it actually allows the police to arrest any group in a public place they think may upset someone!”

Peaceful protest will become a criminal offence.

The basic assumption of British law – that a person is innocent until proven guilty – will be swept away and forgotten.

Not only does this link in with the aims of the so-called Transparency of Lobbying Bill – to gag anyone who would inform the public of the ever-more harmful transgressions committed by our ever-more despotic right-wing rulers – it also provides an easy way of filling all the privately-run prisons they have been building.

Of course, some might argue that this would be no hardship, since the new private prisons are run appallingly badly. However, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has praised the failing Oakwood, mismanaged by G4S, as his favourite prison and anyone saying differently after the Lobbying Bill is passed, or campaigning to make it less easy to get drugs and more easy to get soap there after the Antisocial Behaviour bill is passed, will face the possibility of a term inside.

And consider this: The Conservative-led government has hundreds of millions of pounds for projects like Oakwood, run by their favourite firms like G4S – but if you want help getting a business going you’re pretty much on your own. They will change the law to ensure that their version of events and opinion on issues can be broadcast to the masses, while opposing views are gagged. Yet they describe all their actions as “fair”.

How would you describe their behaviour?

Get your answers in quickly; they’ll soon be illegal.

(Thanks, as ever, to the ‘Constable Savage’ sketch from Not The Nine O’clock News for help with the headline.)

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‘Chequebook politics’ to continue despite Transparency Bill amendments

"How much to make sure my company runs Project X, David?" Chequebook politics will continue to run the UK if the Transparency Bill is passed.

“How much to make sure my company runs Project X, David?” Chequebook politics will continue to run the UK if the Transparency Bill is passed.

You know the old saying: “You can fool all of the people some of the time … blah blah blah … but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

It seems the Conservative Party is determined to write in a new line: “But you can fool most of the people, enough of the time!”

Why else would they be doing what they’re proposing with the so-called Transparency Bill (which is in fact yet another permutation of their boring old bait-and-switch tactic)?

You know, dear reader, that this Bill is about ensuring that David Cameron’s corporate masters continue to have access to him whenever they want to open their chequebooks and give him an order. This blog – and others, we’re sure – has made that very clear.

You also know that it is about attacking the unions, rendering it almost impossible for them to carry out their business without being in breach of the new law.

The third section of the Bill – the part about “non-party campaigning” – was bolted on to provide a distraction, raising concerns across the country that free speech would be, effectively, outlawed in the UK. It seems clear now that this was included purely to provide a focal point for public outrage, away from the main purposes of the legislation.

Now, Andrew Lansley has come forward with amendments to the Bill – aimed at addressing “misunderstandings”. Misunderstandings on what?

On third party campaigning. And nothing else.

The government’s press release states that the amendments will:

  • Remove the additional test of “otherwise enhancing the standing of a party or candidates” from clause 26. This is to provide further reassurance to campaigners as to the test they have to meet in order to incur controlled expenditure. A third party will only be subject to regulation where its campaign can reasonably be regarded as intended to “promote or procure the electoral success” of a party of candidate,
  • Replace the separate listings for advertising, unsolicited material and manifesto/policy documents with election “material”; this is the language used in the current legislation that non-party campaigners and the Electoral Commission are already familiar with, and on which the Electoral Commission have existing guidance,
  • Make clear that it is public rallies and events that are being regulated; meetings or events just for an organisation’s members or supporters will not be captured by the bill. “We will also provide an exemption for annual events – such as an organisation’s annual conference”,
  • Ensure that non–party campaigners who respond to ad hoc media questions on specific policy issues are not captured by the bill, whilst still capturing press conferences and other organised media events, and
  • Ensure that all “market research or canvassing” which promotes electoral success is regulated.

Lansley added: “We have listened and acted, as I said we would do. I am confident that these changes will ensure that the concerns raised about the effect of the Bill on campaigning activities of charities have now been met.

“In doing so, the bill will continue to meet the necessary objective of giving transparency and proper regulation wherever third parties seek to have an influence directly on the outcome of elections.”

Anybody who believes that is all that’s wrong with this Bill is as gullible as Lansley wants them to be.

If you have contacted your MP about this Bill before, you may be surprised to hear that – unless you contact them again – they’re likely to believe that your fears about this Bill have been put to rest.

If they haven’t – and trust us on this, they shouldn’t – then it’s time to email them again.

Otherwise this government of millionaire marionettes will have fooled you again – and the corporate bosses pulling the strings will have good reason to be well pleased.