[dropcap style=”font-size:100px; color:#992211;”]A[/dropcap] message from Dave from 38 Degrees who is spearheading the fight against some legislation that will make it harder for non-corporate interests to hold our representatives accountable for their actions.
Thanks to people’s efforts many MPs raised the issue in the parliament but it’s not over just yet.
So here’s the latest update and links to more information as well as how you can get involved.
On Tuesday the gagging law had its first debate in parliament.  The brilliant work of hundreds of thousands of 38 Degrees members – along with over 100 charities, community groups and campaigns – stopped it slipping through quietly. Dozens of MPs highlighted how many of us had contacted them and raised serious concerns about the plan.
The government managed to win a vote for the law to pass to the next stage. But, as The Daily Telegraph put it, they were “given a rough ride” with “grisly scenes in the Commons”.  Eleven coalition MPs went as far as to rebel.  Others said they only backed the government now because they expect changes to be made further down the line. 
For an early debate like Tuesday’s, this was a good result. It showed that our campaigning is starting to change MPs’ minds. But it also showed that we need to do more if we’re going to see off this threat to democracy.
Your MP has their next chance to vote on Tuesday. Please can you email them before then, with a link to an updated briefing about the problems with the gagging law?
Before Tuesday’s votes, the government sent MPs a “myth buster” document, to persuade them to toe the line. A copy was leaked to 38 Degrees. Sadly, the myth buster contained rather a lot of myths of its own! If we can counter the government’s misleading spin, we’ve got every chance of getting more MPs on board.
A legal expert has written a response the government’s myths. It sets out line by line why the gagging law would hit charities, community groups and campaigners. Please can you email your MP a copy? It would only take a minute or so and could make a big difference.
All kinds of groups with all kinds of views are joining together to try to stop this law. We don’t all agree about absolutely everything. But we can all agree about this: in a democracy, all kinds of people and groups should be able to express their opinions. Most of us don’t want to join a political party. If independent groups get gagged, millions of us will be shut out of the political process.
Please contact your MP and make sure they’ve seen the facts about this threat to democracy:
PS: If you want to find out more information about the bill before you contact your MP there are lots of links here:
 Parliament.org: Transcript of second reading debate on the Transparency of Lobbying, Non Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, Hansard:http://www.
 The Telegraph: Evening Briefing: Barnacles back on the boat: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/
 There were two key votes. On the vote on whether or not to give the bill a second reading, there were 5 Conservative rebels: Douglas Carswell, Philip Davies, David Davis, Zac Goldsmith and David Nuttall. There was 1 Lib dem rebel: David Ward.
On the vote on whether or not it should be rushed through (the “Programme Motion”) there were 7 Conservative rebels: Andrew Bridgen, Douglas Carswell, Philip Davies, David Davis, Zac Goldsmith, David Nuttall, Chris White. There were 3 Lib dem rebels: Andrew George, Mike Hancock & Stephen Williams
Source: the Labour whips twitter page: https://twitter.com/
 Parliament.org: Transcript of second reading debate on the Transparency of Lobbying, Non Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, Hansard: http://www.publications.
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. – Aristotle