Campaigning on the Lobbying Bill continues. The petition now has over 160,000 signatures and is supported by over 130 organisations. It is a significant achievement to attract such support in a week and if you have not already signed please do so – click here. The Bill however remains deeply flawed on a number of fronts and it is important that we continue to push for further amendments. Of particular concern is the fact that had the law been as the Government would now like back in 2000/2001 and in 2004 then we would have been unable to do much of the campaigning we did against the then Government’s bill to ban hunting (the Liberty & Livelihood March, September 2002, is pictured). This point was made forcefully by our President, Baroness Mallalieu, in the Lords. What a gift it would have been for the Labour Government to have been able to know when bringing forward anti-hunting legislation that they would only face muted opposition due to the legal restrictions on campaigning activity.
The Government has made some welcome concessions and we won an important vote in the House of Lords which would mean that some staff costs would not count towards “controlled expenditure”. Political parties do not have to include their staff costs so why should we?