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There has been a united, determined campaign against the gagging impact of the Lobbying Bill on the part of voluntary groups and NGOs. Some will therefore think it a shame that a minority of charities, and the Charities Aid Foundation, have at this late stage chosen the path of seeking exemptions for themselves rather than focussing on the wider considerations.
Lord Paul Tyler, Liberal Democrat spokesman in the Lords on constitutional reform issues, and Baroness Shirley Williams, former leader of Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords have attacked Caroline Lucas MP as "misguided and wrong" in her concerns about the Lobbying Bill – namely, that unless significantly amended (or better, scrapped and completely redrafted) it will let corporate lobbyists off the hook while gagging non-party organisations and unions.
The government's new lobbying bill has united charities, unions and other NGOs - as well as civil rights activists - in condemnation for measures that will do too little to combat serious corporate interference in politics, but will provide the pretext to limit and intimidate legitimate policy-based work by non-government and non-party political bodies.
The UK government is seeking to rush a new law through Parliament which would heavily limit action on political and social issues in the twelve months before an election. This threat to basic freedoms could have drastic consequences.
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