What is lobbying?

Lobbying is a major part of politics, with some MPs being approached by lobbyists hundreds of times a week.

But what exactly is lobbying and how can Brits lobby their MP? Here's all you need to know…

What is lobbying? 

Simply put, lobbying is any attempt by individuals, charities, organisations, pressure groups and businesses to influence the decisions of government.

According to the UK Public Affairs Council it is: “In a professional capacity, attempting to influence, or advising those who wish to influence, the UK Government, Parliament, the devolved legislatures or administrations, regional or local government or other public bodies on any matter within their competence.”

To prevent corruption, and people using Government ties for personal gain there are rules and codes of conduct for lobbying.

Who can lobby Parliament? 

The parliament website states: “Anyone can lobby their MP or a member of House of Lords but it is usually more effective if you can find other people who share your concerns or experiences to lobby with you as a group. 

“People who often lobby parliament and its members include businesses, charities, pressure groups, trade unions and representatives of various sectors of industry.”

How do I lobby my MP or a member of the Lords?

There are many ways Brits can lobby their MP or a member of the Lords.

Parliament’s website list the four best ways of lobbying as the following:

  • Sending emails or letters
  • Organising and presenting a petition or survey
  • Providing information or research to back up your case
  • Inviting an MP or a member of the Lords to a meeting or event where they can find out more about the issue

What are the guidelines for lobbying?

Guidelines are in place to ensure that Parliament offers a safe, secure and equal opportunity for all those wishing to lobby their MP.

Here are the guidelines according to the Parliament website: 

  • Lobbyists may bring in literature relevant to the subject that they hope to discuss. They may offer this literature to the Members of Parliament that they meet but should refrain from delaying Members of Parliament or parliamentary staff from their duties. Certain items are not permitted on the parliamentary estate, see a list of prohibited items.
  • Lobbyists may be requested to remove or cover items of clothing with political slogans especially if these are offensive.
  • Lobbyists may not use Central Lobby as a platform to protest.

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