Wells MP Tessa Munt to back bill over campaign cash
WELLS MP Tessa Munt says she will back a controversial bill that will limit the amount of money lobbyists, campaign groups and trade unions can spend on political campaigning during an election year.
Ms Munt has been asked to object to the bill by campaigners from cross party lobby group 38 degrees. She said that changes to the bill would be revealed today which should lay most of the concerns about the bill to rest.
The bill will introduce a statutory register of consultant lobbyists, regulate more closely election campaign spending by those not standing for election or registered as political parties and tightens up the law on trade unions keeping their list of members up to date.
Campaigners say that the law would "gag" them in the run up to elections, preventing them from speaking out or spending more than £390,000 on advertising, but claim that lobbyists would not be as badly affected.
Ms Munt said that charities have never been able to campaign politically and pressure groups would not be prevented from spending money, but would have to register if they wanted to spend more than £5,000. Currently they can spend £10,000 without registering.
The issue is likely to affect the Labour Party most of all, as the trade unions would have the amount they could spend reduced from £1m to £390,000 in an election year.
The bill reaches the report stage in the House of Commons on Tuesday. See letters page 38.