Plymouth charities to be gagged in run up to election under Government plans
Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport Luke Pollard has warned that the right of Plymouth's charities to speak out against Government policies risks being substantially curtailed after Tory and Lib Dem MPs voted to limit freedoms. The Government's 'Transparency of Lobbying Bill' will see charities' spending capped at a much lower level than currently exists, threatening the ability of charities to raise concerns about Government policies.
Luke Pollard said: "This is a bad bill that will substantially limit the freedom of speech of Plymouth's charities. The Bill is not just opposed by Labour but also by charities ranging from the Royal British Legion, the Countryside Alliance and the League Against Cruel Sports.”
Plymouth's charity sector have already raised concerns about the Bill presenting Gary Streeter MP with a petition against the Bill last week.
Luke added: "The Lobbying Bill fails to regulate lobbying properly but more worrying it represents a direct attack on freedom of speech for charities in our city. Given the record of this government you can understand why Ministers are trying to make it harder for charities to raise concerns about policies they don't like before a General Election but legislating to cap freedom of speech is dangerous.
“Plymouth's Tory MP, Oliver Colvile, by voting for this dangerous Bill has yet again put the interest of Plymouth second: towing the party line first. The charity sector in Plymouth opposed this Bill and they'll remember whose side Mr Colvile was on come the General Election - and it wasn't theirs."
Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View added: "Letters and emails from constituents who are opposed to this Bill inundated my office. The concerns being raised are genuine and heartfelt. David Cameron promised to take the big money out of politics but this an unbelievably poor piece of legislation which simply targets the wrong people."