Opinion Former Article

Unlock Democracy calls for Lords reform and lobbying transparency

Commenting on the revelations in the Sunday Times that four Labour peers had apparently agreed to submit amendments in the House of Lords for a fee, Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey said:

"The idea that members of either House of Parliament should be working as paid consultants for outside interests is unacceptable in a modern democracy. Their job should be to act in the best interests of the wider public. This incident highlights both the need for members of the Lords to be accountable and the need for the lobbying industry to be more transparent and subject to ethical guidelines.

"Many lobbying companies do not employ members of the House of Lords as a matter of policy, but all regulation of the lobbying industry is voluntary. At the beginning of January, the Public Administration Select Committee called for a register of lobbying activity and for the activities of lobbyists to be 'regulated by a rigorous and effective single body.' We endorse this view.

"It is clearly unacceptable for members of the House of Lords caught breaking the laws to be able to retain their life peerage and not be subject to any kind of democratic oversight. The government's recent white paper on Lords reform called for some kind of system of recall in mostly or fully elected second chamber, but also suggested that reform be delayed until after the general election. It is time for the government to stop dawdling about on this issue and introduce a clear timetable for reform."

Unlock Democracy is a member of the Alliance of Lobbying Transparency and runs the Elect the Lords campaign.

ENDS

Note to editors

Unlock Democracy is the UK's leading campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms.

For further inquiries, please contact James Graham (020 7278 4443 / 07966 237550 / james.graham@unlockdemocracy.org.uk)

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