NUJ welcomes Labour's pledge to repeal lobbying act
4 April 2014
The NUJ's& Public Relations & Communications (PRCC) industrial council has welcomed the Labour Party's commitment to repeal the Lobbying Act if it wins power.
The Transparency of lobbying, non-party campaigning and the trade union administration act, more commonly dubbed the "gagging law", was opposed by the NUJ and a broad range of campaigning groups, charities and other organisations which criticised it for failing to address unscrupulous lobbying or bringing transparency to industry.
Phil Morcom, PRCC co-chair, said:
"Ethical public relations workers want to be able to demonstrate that they are not behaving in the underhand way. The new legislation doesn't provide the public with confidence and the NUJ will continue to press for effective, appropriate legislation which reflects proper consultation and the actual problems which have occurred with lobbying, rather than the prejudices of those bringing the bill forward."
The act sets up a register for lobbyists, imposes caps on campaign expenditure during an election year and gives new powers to the certification officer on accessing and monitoring unions' records and correspondence with members. It could mean that press officers will have to cost the value of their labour if a campaign they are working on is deemed political.
The NUJ said the legislation will not clean up the lobbying industry – instead it will severely limit trade unions, charities, community and faith groups' activities and campaigning strategies during election periods. It also threatens trade union membership confidentiality.