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Publish lobbying lists to increase openness and transparency – Kirsty Williams

March 27, 2012 12:15 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are today calling on the Welsh Labour Government to publish details of its meetings with lobbyists and external pressure groups.

The Liberal Democrats have consistently campaigned for reform of the rules around lobbying, which is why the UK Government now routinely publishes details of all meetings Ministers and Civil Servants have with lobbyists. The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe the Welsh Labour Government should do likewise.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have in the past been successful in pressurising the Welsh Government to publish all expenditure over £25,000 in the interest of transparency and accountability. The party now believes the Welsh Government must make this further step to increase public confidence in our political system.

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams, said:

"At a time when the public has so little confidence in our political system, it is essential that the Welsh Labour Government does all it can to create a more transparent political system. Lobbyists are an important part of a good working democracy, but the issue of lobbying needs to be out into the open so that public concerns can be addressed about who is influencing our politicians.

"The Welsh Labour Government, which currently sets its own rules surrounding openness and transparency, has not published any details regarding who and when its Ministers meet with lobbyists. Its self-regulatory way of doing things is not acceptable - the people of Wales have a right to know who the Welsh Government is meeting on their behalf.

"Liberal Democrats have campaigned for many years for a more transparent system. It is time to shine a light into the lobbying world so that everyone can have confidence in Wales' political system. If the Welsh Labour Government has nothing to hide then it should be more than willing to go ahead and publish these details.

"The Welsh Labour Government has in the past said that it would at least be willing to look and see if there is any 'merit' in publishing which lobbyists it meets. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are now setting the ball rolling on this as we know little will get done if it is left up to this indolent Welsh Labour Government.

"After a great deal of campaigning from the Welsh Liberal Democrats, the Welsh Labour Government finally agreed to publish details of all Government spending that exceeded £25,000. It is now time for the Welsh Labour Government to implement this relatively simply change so that the people of Wales can have more faith in the democratic system."