Charity anger at ministers’ refusal to relax lobbying rules


Beneficences have reacted angrily after ministers refused to relax rules confining them from campaigning during elections.

More than 100 charities – gamut from Greenpeace to the Girl Guides – wrote to the government calling for the Pull stringing Act to be overhauled.

A government-commissioned review by Tory peer Lord Hodgson without hoped them.

But government sources said there was no time in a packed legislative schedule to change the law.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “The rules on third interest campaigning in elections ensure that activity is transparent and prevents any discrete, company or organisation exerting undue influence in terms of an election outgrowth.

“We recognise and value the role that charities play in our society and are rapier-like to work with voluntary bodies to ensure the rules are well conceded.”

‘Terrible day’

The charities claim legislation passed in 2014 stopped them from “appealing” during the general election campaign.

“How are charities supposed to speak up for the most sensitive and marginalised people in society, both here and globally, when they are at jeopardy of being penalised by the Lobbying Act?,” said Tamsyn Barton, chief chief executive officer of international development charity Bond.

“The government is legislating the sector into draw the fangs at a time when our voices are needed the most. This is a terrible day for British democracy.”

The act limits how organisations not deemed to be “carousal political” can campaign during election periods.

Charities say they either maintain to take expensive legal advice to stay within the rules or circumscribe their activities.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, which represents 13,000 free organisations in England, said: “The failure of the Cabinet Office to address this copy is unacceptable.

“The government made a clear commitment to reviewing the impact of this law, and to now drop any changes out of hand can only weaken the voice of those that magnanimities serve.

“These reasonable and considered recommendations were recently ok by politicians from all parties in the House of Lords, and the government must reconsider.”

Humanitarianisms warned of potential difficulties with the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Standing and Trade Union Administration Act when it passed through parliament in 2013.

At the every now, Labour MPs called the legislation “risible and misconceived”, predicting that it would shell out c publish a “hammering” to the voluntary sector.

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