4 Conclusion |
83. We continue to regard the Transparency of
Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration
Bill as an example of how not to make legislation. It cannot
be desirable that Parliament is put in the position of being asked
to agree a Bill that is acknowledged to be imperfect, with the
promise that it will be reviewed and improved at a later date.
The Government and Parliament have a joint responsibility to
ensure that legislation is got right the first time. This Bill
should serve as a reminder to successive Governments that consultation
and pre-legislative scrutiny are not mere formalities that can
be dispensed with if the Government chooses, but essential elements
of the process of producing good legislation. They need not take
undue amounts of time, and they add genuine value.
84. Significant changes have been made to the
Bill during its passage through Parliament. It is far from perfect,
but it is undoubtedly better than it was, thanks to the efforts
of parliamentarians, Committees of both Houses, the Electoral
Commission, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations,
the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement and
many others. We agree with many of the amendments that have been
made in the House of Lords. In some instances, we think amendments
to these amendments are necessary. In particular, in Part 1 we
would like to see the Bill amended to include Senior Civil Servants
within the list of people with whom contact counts as lobbying.
In Part 2, we would like the maximum expenditure limits to be
restored to their current levels in England, Scotland and Wales.
We are content with the proposed increase in the limit for Northern
Ireland. We would also like the reporting and accounting requirements
in Part 2 of the Bill to be made less bureaucratic. We will be
tabling amendments to this effect and urge Members to support