The Kernow Branch of the Celtic League has thrown its weight behind a campaign that is asking candidates in the UK general election to back a future ban to the secret lobbying of government by big business.
Candidates throughout Cornwall have already put their name to a petition calling for a ban to secret lobbying, but one candidate in a Cornish constituency has refused to sign the petition without giving a reason why. The Conservative candidate for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, George Eustice, has refused to sign the petition despite being heavily lobbied to do so by a number of individuals and groups, including the Kernow branch of the League.
Kernow branch secretary, Michael Chappell, who is also resident in the constituency, has written to the candidate on a couple of occasions over the course of last week, after the issue was brought to his attention by another member of the branch. In his letter to the candidate Mr Chappell said:
“Prove you’re serious about cleaning up politics by pledging to do all you can to secure the introduction of a public, mandatory register of lobbyists if you are elected in May.”
However Mr Eustice is a former lobbyist and Conservative Party spin-doctor and is fiercely opposed to new rules to regulate his old industry.
The organisation coordinating the petition is an independent UK-wide non governmental organisation called 38 degrees, who attended a public meeting with the candidates in Camborne along with other League members on Friday 23rd April to ask Mr Eustice why he refuses to back a ban.
At the moment in the UK, big business can spend millions on lobbying to change government policy in their favour – and the public have no right to know what’s happening. The petition aims to put pressure on the UK government to introduce new rules for lobbyists, which campaigners hope will help clean up politics and make politicians work for the people they are supposed to represent.
In addition, 38 Degrees is aiming to raise £500 by tomorrow night (29th April) so that a full page advert can be placed in the Western Morning News newspaper with the intention of publically shaming Mr Eustice into backing the ban. Money can be donated to the campaign by clicking on the link below and a number of Kernow Branch members have already done so. Mr Chappell told branch members that he was in favour of `naming and shaming’ old style politicians, because after the expenses scandal, `this sort of politician is no longer acceptable in Cornwall or anywhere in the Celtic countries!’
This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
Tel: 0044 (0)1209319912
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information