Speaker 'suspends House passes'

Speaker John Bercow has reportedly ordered the suspension of more than 80 House of Commons passes amid concerns over lobbying.The Government will bring forward a bill to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists by the summer, Downing Street said.

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Parliament to consider if APPG passes are 'appropriate'

The Serjeant at Arms is considering "as a matter of urgency" whether staff of All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) should be given passes to the Houses of Parliament.

It follows the decision to recall 83 passes in the wake of the cash for questions allegations.

A statement from the House of Commons said that the Serjeant, who is responsible for security matters, is looking into whether passes of this kind are "necessary or appropriate".

No passes of this kind will be issued until the matter is settled, the statement said, and if they are issued in future it is likely that applications will require "more information than at present about the purposes for which a pass is required".

TUC: Trade union money is 'most honest' in politics

Lobbying reforms have caused a political storm in Westminster, with Labour accusing the Prime Minister of undermining the party's trade union support.

Paul Novak, TUC Assistant General Secretary Credit: Daybreak

Speaking to Daybreak, TUC Assistant General Secretary Paul Novak said: "The Government is using this in a cheap cynical way to score points against the trade unions and the six and half a million people that we represent.

"We think that the trade union money that is in politics, the resources that we put into politics", he added. "That's the most honest money in politics."

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Speaker 'suspends 80 House of Commons passes'

Speaker John Bercow has ordered the suspension of more than 80 House of Commons passes amid concerns over lobbying, according to Sky News.

The passes were reportedly issued to all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs) of the kind allegedly set up by Tory MP Patrick Mercer after he was contacted by undercover reporters claiming to represent lobbyists seeking to lift Fiji's suspension from the Commonwealth.

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A spokesman confirmed the issue was discussed at a meeting of the House of Commons Commission - a committee of senior MPs responsible for the administration of the Commons - but declined to disclose details.

"The commission at its regular meeting tonight discussed the issue of APPGs and will make a statement tomorrow," the spokesman said.

Govt 'exploiting scandal to crack down on unions'

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady claims the Government is "cynically trying to exploit a political sleaze scandal to crack down on unions":

Ms O'Grady added, “Making it harder for working people to take strike action and for unions to support local candidates is not the way to clean up politics".

Unite calls trade union curbs 'a grotesque insult'

Unite has called the Prime Minister's decision to include curbs on trade union election spending in the lobbying bill "a grotesque insult".

A spokesman for the trade union said: "This is an outrageous attempt to point the finger of blame elsewhere by a Tory Party that accepts more than 50 percent of its funding from a handful of super-rich businessmen".

Unite is unhappy with the decision the include curbs on trade union election spending in the lobbying bill. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

"Union funding for the Labour Party comes from individual members, ordinary men and women, and is totally transparent.

"How dare this Government suggest that their membership is somehow on the par with a man who defiled the office of MP by hawking himself for a few quid. This is a grotesque insult".

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Labour: Lobbying bill 'shabby and panicked response'

A Labour Party source has called Number 10's lobbying bill announcement "a shabby and panicked response" to this weekend's headlines.

The source said:

The best way to proceed if you want to take big money out of politics and clean up the lobbying scandal is to act on a cross-party basis. Labour has done so.

This seems to be a shabby and panicked response by David Cameron to divert attention from a set of damaging headlines hitting the Conservative Party.

Watchdog investigates peers amid lobbying claims

The House of Lords standards commissioner has begun investigating the three peers caught up in a lobbying scandal, it was announced today.

Leader of the House Lord Hill of Oareford described the allegations as "very serious and distressing".

In a short statement he said ex-cabinet minister Lord Cunningham and Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate, who have both been suspended by Labour, and Lord Laird, who has resigned from the Ulster Unionists, would all be investigated.

Number 10 said lobbyist reform is 'ongoing'. Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

The three lords deny any wrongdoing and have referred themselves to the standards watchdog.

Lord Hill told peers: "The sub-committee on Lords conduct agreed to a request earlier today from the House of Lords commissioner for standards, Mr Paul Kernaghan, that he proceed to investigate the three members of this House against whom allegations have been made.

"Independent external investigation of these allegations is therefore in hand".

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