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Free speech campaigners hand petition to MP Jesse Norman
CAMPAIGNERS have handed a petition to MP Jesse Norman to see if a "gagging law" that could prevent charities and groups from speaking about certain issues could be amended.
Nearly 220,000 people had signed a petition for the Government to scrap or fix part two of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill that is currently being debated in the House of Lords.
The campaigners claim that, if passed, the Bill would clamp down on freedom of speech and gag charities, campaigning groups and the rest of the civil society, rather than tackling "shady lobbying" by big business.
The petition was handed in to Mr Norman at Ross-on-Wye Library on Friday.
"I organised the petition because I support 38 degrees in their campaign to fix or scrap the gagging law as it is rushed through parliament," said Tricia Griffiths, who is from Hereford.
"I am mainly a Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth supporter, against fracking and pollution, and am Interested in campaigning for people friendly matters that are local to Herefordshire.
"It is important to me and other 38 degrees members to show our MP how much opposition there is to this law in it's current form."
Mr Norman said that he is happy to look at the Bill again and see if the proposed changes can be made.
"I take any petition with the utmost seriousness, especially if there is a strong feeling amongst my constituents," said Mr Norman.
"But it is very important to clamp down on lobbying in parliament."
You can view the petition here.
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