Friday, 20 September 2013
Gagging Bill letter to Jackie Doyle-Price
Below is the full text of my e-mail to JD-P asking her to oppose the Gagging Bill being put before Parliament next week.
Dear Jackie Doyle-Price MP,
I am writing to you to ask you to oppose the Gagging Bill for the following reasons:
It is stated that it is to stop "big money" from influencing the outcome of elections. This is nonsense because the way "big money" influences elections is through massive donations to parties - this doesn’t tackle that! Instead it targets charities, community groups and campaigners.
You may argue that civil society should not get involved in party politics but important issues which ordinary people care about, like trying to protect the NHS, will be a key election issue for most of the political parties. The gagging law would apply to campaigning on most issues that are being contested by different political parties - i.e. any big issue of the day! For example, if one political party made privatising NHS services a key part of its manifesto, then any campaign against privatising the NHS would be considered ‘for election purposes’ and be subject to the gagging law.
The proposed limit of £390,000 is just 2% of what political parties are allowed to spend. And includes core staff costs - something political parties aren’t expected to do. This is totally unfair.
Despite assertions to the contrary, a wide range of organisations including NCVO, Oxfam, Christian Aid, Countryside Alliance and Friends of the Earth are still against it even after concessions have been promised.
I believe that the Gagging Bill is being proposed to restrict the freedom of speech of campaigners, charities and community groups who may disagree with policies being brought in by this Government. If this is the case, it is an unjust and unlawful piece of legislation that should be opposed and, as my representative in Parliament, I wish you to oppose it.
As always, I look forward to your prompt reply.
The letter does seem to be a little more formal than usual but that's because it's been partially pre-generated by the 38 Degrees website.
As always, I will post any reply I get right here on this blog.