Letter to the Echo on the Lobbying Bill

October 25, 2013 10:48 AM

Jenny Willott

Sir,

I'm afraid the letter published on 23 October from Michael Fogg of Penylan about the Lobbying Bill, and the Coalition Government more broadly, is completely incorrect.

Mr Fogg states that the Lib Dems have been silent on the subject of the Lobbying Bill; this is patently not the case. Although it is not, and has never been, the Coalition Government's intention to gag charities or any other third party organisation, it is Liberal Democrats in Parliament who have pushed the Government to modify the Bill to address the concerns of charities that the legislation as originally drafted might have had unintended consequences.

Thanks to amendments tabled by Liberal Democrats it is now absolutely clear that charities can continue to campaign on policy issues as they always have. Very few charities spend money to influence an election result so are not affected, but for those who do, the test will now remain the same as it was for the last two elections, when no one has suggested that charities and voluntary organisations were in any way prevented from campaigning.

I also reject Mr Fogg's assertion that the Liberal Democrats are supporting the Tories unquestioningly in government. We have prevented them from reducing inheritance tax, benefiting the very wealthy. We have said no to profit-making in schools, and to firing workers at will without any reasons given. And we have fought hard to implement the banking levy so that banks pay their fair share, all things which would not have happened under a Conservative-only Government.

Although being in Coalition means we can't do everything we would do in a Lib Dem-only Government, we have already implemented a host of Lib Dem policies: we will have raised the income tax threshold to £10,000 by the end of this Parliament, lifting millions of people out of income tax altogether; we're investing in the Green Investment Bank and the Green New Deal to make homes more energy efficient and reduce energy bills; and we have re-linked the Basic State Pension with earnings.

These are just some of the things the Liberal Democrats have done in Government, and all this with just 1 in 10 MPs and in the most difficult of economic circumstances. It's a record of action to be proud of, that shows we can deliver in government.

Yours faithfully,

Jenny Willott

MP for Cardiff Central

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