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Government lobbying proposals signal ‘business as usual’ for crony capitalism

Commenting on the publication of the government’s consultation on the statutory register of lobbyists, Director on Unlock Democracy Peter Facey said:

“Without significant revision, these proposals will serve only to entrench cynicism about the close ties between government and the worst forms of crony capitalism.

“We are deeply concerned by the narrow definition of lobbying given in the consultation paper, which would exempt all in-house lobbying from having to be included in the register. The statement that the ‘essential flow of communication between business leaders and Government’ should be exempted amounts to declaration of intent to a return to ‘business as usual’ as swiftly as possible. We need far more than just cosmetic change.

“Fundamentally though, this paper does not contain a single concrete proposal and as such could have been published at any time over the past 12 months. It reveals the depth of division within government over the scope and remit of the new register and a spectacular failure of leadership. Unable to agree on even the most basic ground rules they have published a list of questions rather than anything substantive.

“We intend to work closely over the next few months with individuals, politicians and other campaign groups to ensure that the government accedes to the very real desire by the public for genuine transparency about who is actively seeking to influence government.

Unlock Democracy is the UK’s leading campaign for democratic reform and a founding member of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency.

The government’s consultation can be found on the Cabinet Office’s website.  We have written a brief summary on our blog.