Like many other hon. Members, I have had more communications on this issue than on virtually anything else since I became a Member of Parliament. Whether we agree with them or not, we have a duty to listen to the views, comments and strong opinions of our constituents.
The Leader of the House and other Government Members have suggested that the Bill is fantastic in every way. That is absolute gobbledegook. It has also been suggested that this is the worst Bill ever to be placed before Parliament, with its fanciful but misleading title heading up what has to be the worst-written Bill ever presented. That is not unintentional; the clauses in the Bill are intentional. They are a full-frontal attack on members of society—let there be no mistake about that. The people who wrote the Bill are very well educated, guided very well by the Ministers in charge of the Department. Let us not hide behind thinking that they are not and that the Bill is not really what they mean. It is exactly what they mean. Perhaps the Bill should have been withdrawn. Perhaps it could be renamed the Government’s Glorified Gagging Bill, the Can’t Criticise Cameron Bill, or the Big Society (Just Be Very Quiet) Bill, because that is exactly what it is all about.
It was the Prime Minister himself who warned that lobbying was the next great scandal waiting to happen. It was the Prime Minister who said that he would put it right. The Bill misses every single target. It misses the big money in lobbying and hits the people at the bottom who are doing their best. It misses the likes of Lynton Crosby, who is at the heart of a rotten Government, and hits charities such as Barnardo’s, Cancer UK and Diabetes UK. To be frank, that is unacceptable.