On Thursday night in St Mary’s Church, Brighton around 300 people gathered for a debate on part 2 of the ”Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill 2013-14″ Graham attended in the place of Simon who was otherwise detained (Simon was clearly sorry to not be available) and Mike was invited, but chose not to attend. Since then Graham has written on his blog that this was not a debate, which is what he was expecting, but it was a public meeting, and more recentyl he has revised his view and suggested it was actually a rally.
I too was disappointed that, with the notable exception of Graham, that no one else attended who was willing to speak up in favour of the legislation. My letter to all three of you is an offer to address this lack of balance in Thursdays meeting and to find a date and time to suit all 3 of you. Caroline Lucas has confirmed her willingness to participate in a meeting at a time to suit the three of you and I am certain that Greg Hadfield or someone else who you might wish to nominate would be willing to Chair the debate. Clearly we would hope you would be able to encourage others to attend. The venue would need to be one with better acoustics than those we experienced on Thursday, but could be a venue that you suggest if available. Alternatively I would be happy to organise a suitable venue.
Let us have a debate, as Graham has requested, and indeed as was originally intended. There is still time for this to take place prior to the amendments to this Bill being agreed and Royal Assent being granted. I believe that there are many people in Brighton & Hove who would like to hear first hand from their three MPs to know how they feel about this Bill and in time the Act that will regulate lobbying for the next General Election and beyond. If you agree to my proposal we can discuss ground rules that are acceptable to all.
I look forward to hearing from each of you