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How Birmingham can Open Up Lobbying

Author: Graham Marsden

Published on Mar 20, 2012

How Birmingham can Open Up Lobbying

Stephen Byers, Bell Pottinger and Adam Werrity have all brought the “noble” art of Lobbying into disrepute.  Then there’s McKinsey’s alleged influencing of the Health and Social Care Bill. David Cameron said before the last election that Lobbying is “the next big scandal waiting to happen.”  Since then however, we have seen very little progress.

£2bn a year is spent on lobbying but is it worth it?  Corporations would not waste that sort money when cutting back on marketing unless they thought there was something in it for them, would they? We need lobbying to aid democracy but it should be open and transparent. The trouble is, too often it is clandestine and can subvert true democracy. We, the public do not know who is lobbying whom, or why.

After Unlock Democracy’s intensive letter writing campaign at the end of last year, the government has finally published its proposals for a register of lobbyists.  But their plans are insufficient, covering only a quarter of the industry and including little meaningful information.  We at Unlock Democracy think the register should show who is lobbying whom, should include both in-house and for-hire Lobbyists, the subject of the lobbying, and a good faith estimate of expenditure, and should cover local and devolved government too.  Then we will see which policies are influenced by organisations outside government, whether altruistic groups, moralists, ex-Public Servants or profiteers.

The government’s consultation will end soon and Mark Harper, the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, has committed to listen to your views and answer your questions at a public meeting on: 

Wednesday 11 April, 6.30-8.30pm at the Birmingham and Midland Institute. 

If you live in the Birmingham and West Midlands area, come along and tell Mark Harper what you think.

Register online 

We need to make this a success. We need to show Mark Harper that people are angry about lobbying and want to engage in the debate.  All help you can give to promote this meeting would be gratefully received.

Offer your help here

Read more about our Open Up Lobbying campaign




Next entry: Unlock Democracy’s response to the Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists consultation paper

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