Survey reveals Tory MPs are four times more likely than Labour members to agree charities are too political

nfpSynergy says its findings indicate the scale of challenge facing charities that hope to lobby in the new parliament

Conservatives: more likely to see charities as too political
Conservatives: more likely to see charities as too political

Conservative MPs are far more likely than their Labour counterparts to think that charities are too political and should not lobby in parliament, according to new research.

A survey of 150 MPs, carried out in May and June on behalf of the charity research consultancy nfpSynergy, asked respondents to say whether they agreed or disagreed with a variety of statements about charities.

The results, which were weighted to be representative of the political make-up of the House of Commons, showed that 85 per cent of Conservative respondents agreed with the statement "some charities are too political", compared with 19 per cent of Labour MPs.

It found that 62 per cent of Conservative MPs agreed with the statement "the charity sector as a whole is too political", compared with 4 per cent of Labour respondents.

Researchers also found that 30 per cent of Tory members said they agreed that charities should not be able to campaign in parliament, compared with 1 per cent of their Labour counterparts.

Eighty-one per cent of Labour respondents agreed with the statement "I think it is important for charities to have a voice in parliament", compared with 54 per cent of Tories.

Fifty-seven per cent of Conservative respondents agreed that larger, national charities were "not as good at using resources as smaller charities", compared with 19 per cent of Labour MPs.

About nine out of 10 of MPs of all political persuasions agreed that "the charity sector is a force for good in the UK". 

Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said that charities would have to overcome significant challenges in order to be able to campaign effectively in the new parliament.

"Influencing Conservative MPs who don’t believe that charities should be lobbying in the first place is an unenviable task," he said.

"As the Labour Party struggles to define itself in the aftermath of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership triumph, it’s more important than ever that the charity sector states its own case in parliament. Clear, powerful and positive messages are needed to convince sceptical MPs that charities have an important role to play in national policy debates".

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