Lobbying Bill — concerns remain despite government concessions

Much has been written in recent weeks about how the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill (or ‘Lobbying Bill’) could significantly restrict charities’ campaigning activities during the ‘regulated period’ prior to an election. 

The Lobbying Bill as originally drafted proposed amendments to existing election law, principally the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA), which would take effect before the 2015 election. 

PPERA regulates spending by third parties (people or organisations who are neither candidates nor political parties) in election campaigns. Restrictions apply, in particular in the 365-day ‘regulated period’ before a general election (or four months before European and devolved administration elections). Further provisions apply where local elections take place within such a ‘regulated period’. Various criminal offences can be committed if PPERA is breached…

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