Tag Archives: transparency

‘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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David Cameron won general election with series of lies? Tell us something we DON’T know!

Yvette Cooper is only half-right. Cameron certainly lied to win the election – but Labour failed to beat him because Labour did not effectively answer those lies.

Labour’s five-year-long failure to deny the claim that it had spent too much while in government is the perhaps the most obvious example.

But Cooper has chosen to highlight promises that were made to the people of the UK, which have been broken in the very short time since.

David Cameron won the general election on the basis of a series of lies, Yvette Cooper said on Thursday, as she highlighted a series of broken promises by the Conservatives.

In a sharpening of her rhetoric against the Tories, the Labour leadership contender accused Cameron of ripping up nine pre-election promises. She said he had changed tack on areas ranging from child tax credits to housing and rail electrification.

Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said: “We may have our own leadership election going on, but Labour can’t allow David Cameron to get away with this and carry on like nothing has happened – he is taking the British public for fools. We have to confront him directly on every lie and broken promise – that’s exactly what I plan to do in parliament and across the country.

The nine areas identified by Cooper are:

  • Cuts in child tax credits. Cooper said Cameron denied during the election that he would cut child tax credits. She said Osborne, the chancellor, unveiled £4.5bn of cuts to child tax credits in the budget which would hit women twice as hard as men.
  • Cuts to child benefit after Cameron said during the election there would be no cuts beyond a two-year freeze. Cooper says it will now be subject to a four-year freeze.
  • Cancellation of rail electrification plans.
  • Downgrading of the number of affordable homes due to be built. The Office for Budget Responsibility has said 14,000 fewer homes will be built.
  • Delaying of a decision on a new airport runway in south-east England. Downing Street says it is standing by its commitment to reach a decision by the end of this year.
  • Delay in the introduction of tax-free childcare from 2015 to 2017.
  • Shelving of an election pledge to give public officials three days off work to take part in volunteering.
  • Delay until 2020 in the introduction of the social care cap.
  • Reversal of pledge for greater government transparency after launch of review into freedom of information.

Source: David Cameron won general election with series of lies, says Yvette Cooper | Politics | The Guardian

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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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Are the paedophilia probes getting too close to the Tories?

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Blocked for 11 months: The Mail on Sunday describes how the Conservative-run Cabinet Office tried to hide information about paedophilia in the corridors of power.

According to Labour’s Simon Danczuk, the government is refusing to publish at least four files on historic child abuse because it is worried about what information may be revealed ahead of May’s general election.

Oh really? This suggests that the facts must be more damaging than any speculation. We all know that leading Conservative MPs, including at least one cabinet minister from the Thatcher era, have been implicated in the ongoing paedophile investigation.

Yesterday we learned that then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been told about child abuse allegations relating to the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith, but still gave him a knighthood in 1988.

And the Daily Mirror, together with investigative news site Exaro, has revealed that police have raided the London and North Yorkshire homes of the late Leon Brittan as part of Operation Midland – set up to ­investigate historic claims of child abuse by a group of powerful men.

The Mail on Sunday report states that the Cabinet Office – run by Conservative Francis Maude – repeatedly blocked attempts to see documents about Cyril Smith, and only relented under threat of High Court action.

It said David Cameron and Nick Clegg have both been accused of colluding in the cover-up.

Mr Danczuk told the paper: “Nick Clegg and David Cameron have colluded in covering this up. It involves their people and we should not have to learn about this piecemeal because of journalists pestering for information.

“Both men need to come clean and make a personal commitment to revealing everything that is now held by Government departments.

“The Prime Minister promised there would be no stone unturned into the inquiry of historic sex abuse in Westminster. But the Cabinet Office seems to be doing the opposite.

“Clegg, who sits in this department, has already written to me refusing to carry out an investigation into who knew what about Cyril Smith in his party and it’s disappointing to see the Cabinet Office continuing this unhelpful approach.”

This is not the only information being withheld by the government prior to the general election. It is known that Jeremy Hunt is holding back a highly critical report on NHS management – apparently for political reasons.

Iain Duncan Smith is withholding information on the full cost of his disastrous Universal Credit vanity project until after the election.

And of course the government is refusing to reveal how many sick and disabled people its vicious ‘welfare reforms’ have killed off – as reported in this blog last month, and many times in the past.

Didn’t David Cameron say his would be the most open government ever, ushering in a new era of transparency? Yes he did.

What a shame this most evasive of all governments is working so hard to hide the information people need, if they are to make the right choice at the general election.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Goodbye to Britain’s National Health Service, Hello Tory Dystopia

140113THAP!

Here’s an article from US website Global Comment on what America clearly understood to be the privatisation of the National Health Service in England. It was published in March 2012, about a month after the Health and Social Care Act was passed – and seems much more perceptive in its evaluation than – for example – the BBC!

The article states: “The level of health care privatization being implemented by the British government via the Health and Social Care Bill (and experts agree it amounts to privatization and will lead to more, even as ministers known to love the private sector deny it) is seen by many as essentially the end of the National Health Service (NHS). The editor of the respected medical journal The Lancet has described the impact of this “coming disaster” very bluntly: ‘People will die thanks to the government’s decision to focus on competition rather than quality in healthcare.'”

It continues: “A hatchet is being taken to the NHS without a mandate, which explains the lack of transparency and authoritarianism of the process. The government doesn’t want a risk assessment for their “reforms” published, and meanwhile protests that have been held with the aim of quite literally conserving a beloved British institution, a pillar of the welfare state, have been policed as if they were radical demonstrations aiming to smash the state.

“The Conservatives very explicitly lied about their intentions: a famous and frequently parodied campaign poster featured Tory leader and now Prime Minister David Cameron promising that he wouldn’t cut the NHS.”

Moving on to other policies, it states: “In place of free healthcare for UK citizens, the government is providing free labor for corporations: “Jobseekers have been made to do compulsory unpaid work for up to four weeks after refusing to take part in the voluntary work experience scheme,” reports The Guardian.

“And there are all kinds of other nasty Tory plans in motion to make Britain a more grim, awful place. They plan to kick out immigrants from outside the European Union who earn less than £35,000, which is to say almost half the country’s nurses. Cameron’s cuts to disability benefits are so severe as to have even prompted the departure of long-term members of his party – appalled by the “endless attacks on disabled people and their right to independence and full equality” – and fierce opposition from columnists for The Daily Mail, usually a bastion of right-wing meanness.

“How did things get so bad, so fast?”

Well worth reading.

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

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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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Government responds to the e-petition against corruption

hm_gov

What interesting timing.

The government has a duty to make some kind of response if an e-petition on its website passes 10,000 signatures. My own e-petition – ‘Ban MPs from voting on matters in which they have a financial interest’ – passed that point several weeks ago, but it is only now – right before Christmas, when people have many other matters on their minds – that it has been graced with a response.

And what a weak response it is!

The petition calls on the government to legislate against MPs speaking or voting in debates on matters which could lead to them, companies connected with them or donors to their political party gaining money.

The response runs as follows: “The participation of Members of Parliament in debates and votes are a matter for the rules of each House rather than for legislation.” How interesting. Every other level of government has legislation covering this – look at the Local Government Act 1972. What makes Parliament so special?

“The rules are based upon the principle of transparency: the registration and the declaration of any financial interests. In the House of Commons, the Code of Conduct requires Members to fulfil the requirements of the House relating to the registration of interests in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests and to be open in drawing attention to any financial interest in proceedings of the House. The application of these rules are explained in The Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members.” This raises the question: Why were these rules not applied so that, for example, Andrew Lansley could not speak on his own Health and Social Care Bill because he had received £21,000 of support from the private health company Care UK? Clearly he was in breach of the rules, and it is just as clear that no action was taken. This demonstrates the need for robust enforcement – with a criminal penalty for transgressors.

Similar rules apply in the House of Lords. These make clear that it is for Peers themselves to declare a financial interest if a reasonable person might think that their actions could be influenced by a relevant interest.

“In both Houses the respective Registers of Interests are publically available and updated regularly.” How often are they checked for accuracy?

Now we come to the meat: It would not be practicable to prevent Members speaking or voting in debates on legislation which could financially benefit any commercial operation in which they have a financial interest or which has made donations to themselves of their party. A significant number of legislative provisions in any year may have beneficial financial implications for all or most commercial operations. The requirement proposed would impose a duty on all Members to ascertain whether a general legislative provision might be of financial benefit to particular operations in which they had an interest. There are questions as to how such a complex requirement could be policed effectively and what sanctions would apply.”

This is bunkum. There is a huge difference between legislation that is designed to help all businesses and that which is designed to improve the profitability of a particular sector – such as the healthcare sector inhabited by Care UK, in the case of Mr Lansley that I have already mentioned.

Is a particular commercial sector, or an individual company, likely to benefit from legislation? If so, have any MPs taken money from that company, or one within that sector? Have such firms contributed to the funds of the party bringing that legislation forward? If the second condition is met, then that Member should not be allowed to speak; if the third condition is met, then this is corrupt legislation and should not be allowed before Parliament. It really is that simple. How many MPs or Peers have an interest in fracking?

In fact, considering their enormous salaries, why are MPs allowed to have any other financial interests at all?

“The rules of the House of Commons already prohibit paid advocacy, so Members cannot advocate measures which are for the exclusive benefit of a body from which they receive a financial benefit.” Then why was Lansley allowed to bring forward a bill that promised to benefit Care UK?

“In other cases, where legislation or debate affects a body from which a Member receives a financial benefit, that interest must be properly registered and declared.” How often is that checked?

“In relation to political donations and election expenditure, the Government is committed to further improving transparency and accountability, so as to prevent a situation where opaque and unaccountable groups spend large sums of money attempting to influence the political system. Measures to achieve this objective are included in the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill which is currently before the Parliament.” This is a Bill that has been pilloried as an example of the poorest legislation ever put before a British legislative body – it is not a good example to use in defence of a corrupt system.

That is the government’s point of view – for all that it is worth. I think we owe it to the people of the UK to respond – so let us lay this open to anybody who has an opinion.

Do you know of an instance in which the rules – as laid out in the government response published here – have been broken? Please get in touch and tell us what you know – making sure you provide as much evidence as possible. This site is not in the business of libelling honest politicians – we only like to expose those who are crooked.

Please get in touch.

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