‏@UnlockDemocracy MP’s reply on Lobbying and MPs’ probity

A short while ago, at the behest of ‘Unlock Democracy;, I wrote to my MP about Lobbying.

Below is a follow-up to her initial response, with comments from The Cabinet Office and my note of thanks:
Dear Mr Shale
As you know, I did write to the Cabinet Office regarding the proposed introduction of a statutory register of lobbyists and the recent public consultation and I now enclose, for your information, a copy of the reply that I have received.
I appreciate and share your concern about this important issue and agree that there needs to be urgent reform of the lobbying system to make it more transparent, accountable and appropriately regulated. It is clear that the lobbying system in this country lacks transparency and that if we are to regain public trust in the political system this needs to be addressed urgently.
The previous Government had plans to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists back in March 2010 and, given the lobbying controversies that have been brought to light over the last year, I am very disappointed that the current Government have not taken decisive action on this issue and did not include a lobbying Bill in the May 2012 Queen’s Speech.
Indeed, while the current Government have repeatedly promised to reform lobbying and have held a public consultation they are yet to bring forward workable, effective proposals.
I am also aware that the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee have recently published a report that criticised the Government’s draft proposals for having a narrow focus’ that will do little to improve transparency about lobbying’.
The Committee therefore recommended that Government scrap their proposals.
I share your concern about the Government’s lack of decisive action on this important issue and I would like the Government to bring forward legislation immediately to reform and clean up lobbying.
I can assure you that I will continue to press the Government on this important issue.
Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.
Yours sincerely

Yvonne Fovargue
Labour Member for Makerfield

From : Cabinet Office    

Dear Yvonne,
Thank you for your letter of 3 September to Minister Harper setting out the concerns of your constituents about the Cabinet Office’s decision not to recognise submissions received as part of the Unlock Democracy campaign to the consultation “Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists” as separate substantive responses. I have now taken over responsibility for Political and Constitutional Reform.
The Government’s Code of Practice on Consultation makes clear that in the analysis of responses the focus must be on evidence brought forward in support of arguments made. It is therefore normal practice to summarise overarching themes rather than identify each respondent, particularly in cases where responses are received as part of, or affiliated to, a large campaign.
Nevertheless, I would hope that the vast majority of respondents that replied through Unlock Democracy would recognise that their views have been represented in the Government’s summary of responses, even if they have not been personally attributed to them. The number of people who participated in the Unlock Democracy Campaign was made clear. I can also assure you that these views have been presented clearly both to me and my predecessor, Minister Harper, and will form part of our considerations as we finalise the Government’s preferred approach.
-I-am grateful to-Unlock Democracy for the efforts they have gone to in engaging their supporters in this process and I know that Minister Harper was very pleased to have been able to take part in the Open Up Lobbying event that Unlock Democracy organised in Birmingham. I look forward to continuing to work with them.
Your constituents can be assured that I share their determination to increase the level of transparency that is applied to the lobbying industry.

CHLOE SMITH
INVESTOR IN PEOPLE

 

email from me:

Thank you for your full and detailed responses to my inquiry on lobbying.
I noticed your phrase “if we are to regain public trust in the political system” and felt a need to comment in view of the latest (legal) deceit of MP’s exploiting the renting of each other’s properties.
I was particularly disappointed to see that the Express had named Andy Burnham as being involved; especially after his good standing in respect of Hillsborough and the privatisation of the NHS.
This particular privatisation policy stinking of corruption with one corp of doctor’s having been outed over their shareholding’s in Virgin Health and the condemnation of that company in their running of certain Health Trusts.
It is to be expected that Lansley and co. will have vested interests, it would be harsh if Labour MP’s were also involved.
With so many tales of vested interests emanating from Whitehall, coupled with some of the reports on your predecessor, I’m afraid that, such as yourself and Lisa Nandy, face an uphill struggle in any attempt “to regain public trust in the political system”, particularly with the present Cabinet calling the shots.

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