Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill — Report (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 13th January 2014.

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Photo of Lord Norton of Louth Lord Norton of Louth Conservative 4:15 pm, 13th January 2014

My Lords, briefly I support the comments of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hardie, and those of my noble friend Lord Tyler. I also associate myself with my noble friend’s comments about special advisers. He is absolutely right. This Bill is flawed in two major respects. First, political consultants rarely lobby directly. They advise clients and the clients do the lobbying. That point was well made in the other place, not least by those who have direct experience of the lobbying industry.

The second flaw is that when they do lobby, they rarely lobby Ministers or Permanent Secretaries directly. We know that from the debates in this House from those who have served as Ministers and Permanent

Secretaries. The amendment before us goes at least some way to addressing that second problem. The Bill remains flawed and we want to look at that later in more fundamental respects, but at least this amendment would try to make a bad Bill less bad.