Brighton MP speaks out about lobbying in Commons debate

Posted On 26 Jun 2013 at 8:59 am

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas spoke out during a debate on lobbying in the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday 25 June).

The Green MP spoke as a Labour MP, Jon Trickett, called for the government to bring in a statutory register of lobbyists.

Mr Trickett said that lobbying was vital in a democracy but that it was an area that needed regulation.

Several MPs said that a register of lobbyists was necessary to ensure that lobbying was conducted in a way that was open, transparent and accountable.

Dr Lucas said: “If we are genuinely to restore public trust in politics, the statutory register of lobbyists has to be the very minimum.

“We must do far more to tackle the excessive influence of corporate money and vested interests and to address things such as the invisible secondments of people from industry right into the centre of policy making here in Whitehall.”

Mr Trickett said: “The honourable lady is right that we have to take big money out of politics across the board.

“We have proposals to do that, and have made some difficult recommendations on trade unions, if anyone is interested.

“It is the government who are stalling the negotiations on party funding.

“We need a lobbying bill that will begin the process of cleaning up our politics and create a level playing field for all the professional lobbyists who behave ethically but are constantly undermined by a few who do not play by the rules. Nothing less will do.

“The Leader of the House (Andrew Lansley) must say whether he will continue to speak for the closed circle, the tiny elite, that seems to run our country and on whose behalf many professional lobbyists often work, or whether he will speak on behalf of the many by placing the professional lobbying industry on a proper footing.”

The motion called for a bill – a draft law – to be published before the summer break. The government said that it would publish a bill in the autumn.

Dr Lucas voted for the motion. The Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown Simon Kirby voted against the motion, as did his party colleague, the MP for Hove Mike Weatherley.

The motion was lost.

 

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