Labour to review laws for charities and campaigners

Published on Tuesday, 06 May 2014 12:45
Written by Govtoday staff

As part of Labour's commitment to repeal the government's gagging bill, the party is today launching a wide-ranging review of the laws for campaigners and charities.

Led by Baroness Maeve Sherlock, the review will involve consulting widely with charities and campaign groups at what future regulation should look like.

The government's legislation was opposed by a broad coalition of charities and campaigners - from the Taxpayers' Alliance to Friends of the Earth. It created burdensome regulation that will gag many groups in the run up to the general election. The political and constitutional reform select committee condemned the act as a 'dog's breakfast'.

Labour sees campaigning and charities as a key cornerstone of our democratic debate, compared to the government which sees such groups as a threat.

Stephen Twigg MP, Labour's shadow minister for constitutional and political reform, will say in a speech launching the review: "The premise of part two of the act was that the rise of energetic campaigns and charities was a mischief that must be solved. There was an underlying streak of suspicion and mistrust from the government towards the millions of people who petition and campaign on issues that matter to them.

"Britain has become more diverse and mobile, and with technological advancements it's never been so easy to spread ideas, to join debates or sign petitions. People can support campaigns as they wish, when they wish and in any way they wish. The government's act stifled these developments, whilst we want to encourage and protect them.

"Baroness Sherlock will look at what regulation is needed to offer further protection of civil society's freedom of speech. Labour wants a healthy and thriving campaigning and charity sector - that can stand up to vested interests. We will build a regulatory framework which encourages this."

Source: Labour party

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