Lobbying section

Proposer
andrewdwilliams
State

Accepted

Vote Score

2

Age

1746 days


andrewdwilliams

@andrewdwilliams - almost 5 years ago

A section about lobbying. Main point is a mandatory register of lobbyists, other point is about the City Remembrances which I tried to introduce before but everyone skipped over it.

@andrewdwilliams edited manifesto/democracy.md - almost 5 years ago

title: Democracy

layout: policy published: true


  • table of contents

The constitution will be created with broad participation from the citizenry, and approval and adoption shall be subject to a referendum.

Electoral Reform

Introduce a 'None of the Above' box on all ballot papers to formally and positively register abstention.

Introduce voting by proportional representation using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) method in all General and Local Elections.

Investigate the feasibility of electronic voting at all elections, with a view to increasing accessibility and turnout.

Reduce the age of voting at General, Scottish, and European Elections (ie to legislative bodies) and all national and local referenda to those aged 16 years and above.

Reduce the age of voting at Local Elections and to the Welsh Assemby (ie to non-legislative bodies) to those aged 15 to encourage youth participation in democracy prior to enjoying full voting right at 16.

Recall of Representatives

Allow for full and proper recall of MPs: any e-petition to recall their MP supported by 20% of all registered constituency electors should trigger a local referendum (yes/no majority vote required) as to whether to hold a fresh byelection.

Lords Reform

Replace the House of Lords with a second chamber made up of randomly-selected citizens tasked with reviewing and amending legislation created by the House of Commons.

Citizens are selected from the electoral roll and serve a single fixed-length term. A subset of the chamber is changed each year. Leave from work is legally protected, and help back to work included in the cost.

Party Funding

Limit all donations and loans to political parties, campaign, lobbying and interest groups to a maximum of £5,000 from individuals and groups.

Constituency offices of MPs, which quite rightly are publicly funded, should be solely for the use of casework officers, diary assistants etc to assist the MP in dealing with constituency issues. They should not be used for campaigning purposes or for locating agents, campaign managers, or other party officials, and thereby giving a publicy funded electoral advantage to incumbents over challengers.

Standing for Election

Limit all donations and loans to political parties to a maximum of £5,000 from individuals who appear on the electoral register.

Much apathy is focused around the perceived privilege of the political class. This is reinforced by the costs of attempting to stand for election. In the digital age, where a political campaign can be waged at little to no cost, the £500 deposit required to stand for election excludes some of the most enthusiastic and contributory members of society. These are people who often spent a majority of time volunteering in their community and don't have the income to save for such a high fee. Candidacy should be open to all, regardless of financial wealth, if we are to have an open democracy, so this deposit will be removed.

Only individual's appearing on the electoral register are able to fund political parties and each individual is absolutely limited to transfer a maximum of £5,000 in any calendar year. This is the total amount that may be transferred and includes every type of financial activity in addition to straight forward donations.

To deter time wasters, the current requirement of 10 nominations from the electorate to obtain candidacy will be increased to 20.

Prospective parliamentary candidates must have a good connection with the constituency they wish to represent. This enforces the connection between representatives and their constituents and helps to disqualify candidates that are "flown in" by the party ahead of local choices.

European Elections

Given each EU member country has the right to select the electoral system they use to elect their own MEPs, the Open Party List sytem (using the 'most-open' method) will also be used for elections to the European Parliament.

Constituency offices of MPs, which quite rightly are publicly funded, should be solely for the use of casework officers, diary assistants etc to assist the MP in dealing with constituency issues. They should not be used for campaigning purposes or for locating agents, campaign managers, or other party officials, and thereby giving a publicy funded electoral advantage to incumbents over challengers.

Transparency

To improve the ability of citizens to hold politicians to account for the promises they make, the National Archives' remit for creating an archive of Government publications will be extended to political campaign material produced by political parties. This will primarily be done by collecting copies of all material distributed by Royal Mail as part of election campaigns. Political party manifestos will also be archived by the National Archives.

Lobbying

We want to establish a single, comprehensive and mandatory statutory register of political lobbyists. This will replace the four voluntary options currently available to lobbyists. This register must contain all paid lobbyists and it must give us meaningful information on what lobbyists are up to, including who is lobbying for who, which agency of government are being lobbied, and broadly what lobbyists are aiming to influence.[^2]

To dampen the influence of the City of London in the legislative process, we will remove the City Remembrancer from the floor of the House of Commons and end the Remembrancer's privileges to view legislation during the drafting process. Although granting these permissions is under the control of the Speaker, legislation should be enacted to ban the Remembrancer from resuming these permissions.

Devolution

We support the principle of subsidiarity, in the general sense that decisions should be devolved to the most local organisational level capable of effectively handling the issue.

In the case that a local area is unable to deal with any issue effectively, there shall be an escalation path available to ensure that the issue can be decided at the next broader level.

House of Lords Reform

We believe in replacing the House of Lords with a more representative chamber. However, there are immediate reforms required and so while we will work to replace the House of Lords, we will apply incremental reform to the Lords before hand to improve our democracy in the meantime. These reforms are outline below, in the order in which we'll hope to implement them.

Cease all new appointments

Upon entering Government we will immediately end all new appointments to the House of Lords, swiftly ending the undemocratic procedure.

Cut membership to 650

The "upper house" - as it is known - should not contain more Lords than MPs. We will place a cap on Lords of 650, and seek to remove those Lords with the lowest attendance in order to drop the current levels down to match the House of Commons.

House of Citizens

The House of Lords will be replaced with a chamber made up of randomly-selected citizens tasked with reviewing and amending legislation created by the House of Commons.

Citizens are selected from the electoral roll and serve a single fixed-length term. A subset of the chamber is changed each year. Leave from work is legally protected, and help back to work included in the cost.

MPs pay and expenses

MP salaries should be linked to other public sector wages, and should rise and fall with them. We propose that this should be set as a multiple of the median public sector wage. If current wage levels are taken as a starting point, the multiplier would be roughly 2.5, but the precise figure should be decided by an independent panel of citizens when the legislation is prepared. Other salaries (for instance, for ministers) would also be linked to public sector wages in the same way.

Serving MPs should not hold second jobs unless they can show that there is no conflict with their role as MP, both in terms of time required and conflict of interest. This includes directorships and advisory posts.

All persons holding elected public office will be barred from standing as a candidate in any election other than for re-election to the same post. An exclusion will apply to holding parish and district-level councillor positions simultaneously.

Allowed expenses would be reduced to only those costs incurred as part of their job; for instance, travel and accomodation.

Second home allowances will be scrapped, and MPs will instead have accommodation provided through parliament. This could be in dedicated accommodation, existing hotels, or long-term leases as appropriate. All MPs would be treated equally under this system.

Government Ministers

Separation of Powers

Abolish the City Minister position, ending the privileged position of the City of London to influence policy at the expense of the wider public.

In the UK, our executive branch (the government) is made up of members of the legislative branch (the Commons and Lords). Ideally, they would be separated.

Limit the number of ministers, abolish Parliamentary Private Secretaries and further place a limit on the number or percentage of ruling party MPs that may serve in Government. Granting Government jobs to MPs has been used increasingly as a way to help ensure more MPs 'toe the party line' often in the face of staunch opposition from constituents. Limiting this tactic will help to ensure more MPs remain more accountable to their electorate, not the party.

The executive should be appointed by the legislature, on an annual basis. Ministers could then be selected from all walks of life for their expertise in subject areas, management, or other desirable skills.

Ban unelected Lords from serving in Government.

Government Posts

Cabinet appointments will be subject to a vote of approval by the House of Commons.

Abolish the City Minister position, ending the privileged position of the City of London to influence policy at the expense of the wider public.

Royal Secrecy

Fully include of the monarchy within the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), so that the royal household is legally obliged to respond to information requests[^2].

Fully include of the monarchy within the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), so that the royal household is legally obliged to respond to information requests[^3].

Repeal existing exemptions from the FOIA that allow communications between other government bodies and the members of the royal family to be kept secret.

The President will be equal before the law, and will not be protected by Sovereign Immunity. The President will not be constitutionally linked to any faith.

Democracy Research

Investigate the feasibility of direct digital democracy - using online tools to gradually replace representative democracy with increased direct participation in the legislative process by all electors.

Investigate methods for deliberative democracy[^3] - things which increase research and understanding before decision making. Run trials of these for small decisions. Implement proven ones for members of the upper and lower house, and for ministers.

[^1]: Do we need a written constitution? - The Constitution Society

Floppy

@Floppy - almost 5 years ago

This should be OK to merge now...