A group of MPs are to look at the way companies and pressure groups lobby parliament and to determine what can be done to make sure they do not exert undue influence.
Last month, for example, it emerged thatt ING was responsible for drawing up parts of a draft law covering tax deductions given to banks for a new type of bond.
The new initiative comes from Labour MPs Lea Bouwmeester and Astrid Oosenbrug, who say parliamentarians from four other parties have agreed to join in.
‘We have to be more open about who comes to talk to us and how we weigh up their interests,’ Bouwmeester told the Volkskrant.
Earlier this year, Bouwmeester and Oosenburg published a number of suggestions aimed at boosting transparency within the lobby sector. These include publishing ministers’ diaries and including a section in all draft legislation which states which outside interests have been taken into account.
They now suggest ensuring former ministers and MPs go through a ‘cooling off’ period before going to work in a sector which they were involved in while in active politics.
This, for example, would have stopped former transport minister Camiel Eurlings joining KLM after quitting parliament.
Public affairs professor Arco Timmermans told the paper the initiative is an important first step. ‘At the moment, the only ones to exert control on the lobby is the media but this is not sufficient,’ he said.
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