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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 13th January 2014.

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Photo of Lord Hardie Lord Hardie Chair, Mental Capacity Act 2005 Committee 4:45 pm, 13th January 2014

I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord. The point that I am seeking to make in this amendment is that one has to go back to the definition in Clause 2. In the terms of that definition, it is people who fall within the category of persons carrying on the business of consultant lobbying who have to register under Clause 1. Clause 2(1)(a) states that they are required to register if, in short,

“in the course of a business and in return for payment, the person makes communications within subsection (3)”.

It is the communications that we are addressing. Subsection (3) states that the communications are,

“oral or written communications made personally to a Minister of the Crown or permanent secretary relating to”,

the various matters mentioned. I think that second Permanent Secretaries are on the list of people in the schedule.

The point of this amendment is to highlight that the narrow definition of people to whom communications are being made which require registration on the part of consultant lobbyists renders the whole concept of registration almost worthless because, as has been clear from the contributions across the House, these people are not just lobbying Ministers. To get round that, a lobbyist who lobbies a special adviser or a civil servant concerned with policy would not be required to register.