As the House of Lords prepares to consider final amendments to the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, the Countryside Alliance has described it as “regrettable” that the bill has reached this stage so quickly and with so few amendments.
An Alliance spokesperson said: “It is deeply regrettable that on 22 January MPs rejected key amendments, made in the House of Lords, which would have limited the damage that Part 2 of the Lobbying Bill will do to democratic engagement in this country. The Government has continued to claim that this legislation would not curtail the ability of organisations to campaign, and many MPs have accepted these assurances. But it is not true.”
The Alliance has previously claimed that it could be effectively shut down every election year should the Bill go through.
“If the law had been as the Government now intends ahead of the 2001 and 2004 general elections we could not have marched, rallied, demonstrated or campaigned as we did against the Labour Government’s legislation to ban hunting,” the Alliance spokesperson continued. “We would have reached our spending limit very quickly and had to put up and shut up.
“It can only be hoped that the House of Lords will show its independence by insisting on its reasonable amendments and exercising its constitutional duty of protecting the constitutional rights of the electorate.”