Campaigners discuss bill with MP

Campaignists outside the Conservative Party offices in March.
Campaignists outside the Conservative Party offices in March.
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Four campaigners have met MP Stephen Barclay to discuss the “Lobbying Bill”, known by opponents as the “ultimate gagging order”.

They are pictured after the meeting outside the new Conservative Party offices in Wisbech Road, March.

Mr Barclay had previously voted in favour of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill.

The campaigners met through a website called 38 Degrees, and they were telling Mr Barclay of the dangers to democracy presented by the bill which, if unchanged, would make a criminal offence of certain lobbying and criticism of government.

They say that the bill would hit legitimate campaigning and not the declared target of lobbying, which they call “a scandal and undemocratic”.

The bill began as a plan for a register of lobbyists and grew.

Now some concessions have been introduced into the bill regarding Charities but campaigners believe that democracy is still threatened.

The bill is expected to become law in time for the scheduled general election to be held in 2015. But campaigners are continuing their efforts to resist its progress.