Health and banking reform. Rupert Murdoch. Liam Fox. Greg Barker. Lobbying scandals have rarely been off the front pages over the last year. On the eve of the last general election, David Cameron himself predicted that “secret corporate lobbying, like the expenses scandal, goes to the heart of why people are so fed up with politics... It is the next big scandal waiting to happen.”
Unlock Democracy want to see the government take action on this. Lobbying government isn't a problem in itself; it’s a part of the democratic process. The problem is when it’s done in secret and the public have no way of knowing who has been putting pressure on the government to do what.
We want to see a system in place to ensure that all lobbyists publicly register their meetings and contact with civil servants and politicians. It would ensure that scandals such as the one embroiling Liam Fox and Greg Barker could be exposed much more quickly.
The UK is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to lobbying transparency; even the US has made great strides on the issue in recent years.
The government published proposals for a register earlier this year and have promised to publish more detailed proposals soon. We are determined to ensure the government's proposals are for a register that is as comprehensive and robust as possible - their initial proposals excluded three quarters of the lobbying industry from having to register whatsoever.
Please take one minute today to email your MP asking them to put pressure on new Political and Constitutional Reform Minister Chloe Smith to publish the White Paper on a lobbying register.
UK government data provided by GovEval.