Last week we celebrated a small but important victory, as the House of Lords voted overwhelmingly to add important amendments to the Lobbying Bill, which threatens our ability to campaign together in the run up to elections. This was important progress, and was thanks to ActionAid supporters among other coalition supporters who wrote to Peers and signed a petition with over 167,000 people. But we knew that the fight wasn’t over.
This week, we’re sad to report that as the Bill returned to the House of Commons, our key wins of removing restrictions on staff costs and constituency regulation, were overturned.
The amendments had support in the House of Commons from Labour, other opposition parties and even some Liberal Democrats and Conservative MPs who rebelled against their party line. And we know that pressure from ActionAid campaigners helped this to happen. But sadly it wasn’t enough.
It is really amazing to see how the majority of our elected MPs would decide to turn a deaf ear to the 150+ charities and 167,000 members of the public that oppose the bill, by opposing these amendments. We know this is a deeply flawed piece of legislation which will fundamentally damage the nature of our democracy.
There were a few concessions from the Government though that have been approved by the House of Commons such as shortening the timeframe in which these restrictions will apply from 12 months to 7.5 months before the 2015 general election, but the Bill still poses a real threat to our ability to campaign together to tackle global poverty.
As amendments have been rejected by the House of Commons, the Bill will return to the House of Lords next week for further debate. And once again we need your support to make sure that Peers stick to their guns and continue to support their amendments.
Please write to a member of the House of Lords as soon as possible, as they will expect to hear from you and we know your letters and emails are having an impact!
A huge thanks to all of you for your support so far.