Sir: Defenders of the lobbying industry maintain that the activity is simply the exercise of the right to free speech by persons conveying their views to decision-makers and legislators, and that lobbying is essential in democracy. While this is undoubtedly true, it hides the fact that not everyone has the resources or inclination to lobby on things that will affect them, if they even know that discussions are taking place on proposed legislation or policy.
Allowing lobbyists free access to our legislators and civil servants opens the possibility of manipulation, and to distorted legislation and policy. We should not, without regulation, allow the lobbying industry to bend and manipulate our laws and policies.
Formal rules on gaining access, declarations of interest, and clear open formalised statutory consultation are the solution. Otherwise, we the majority will increasingly be held hostage to private and special interests exercising their democratic rights.