Charities can be 'cack-handed' in their lobbying, laments Conservative MP

Charles Walker, MP for Broxbourne, says some charity communications amount to bullying

A Conservative MP has accused charities of being "blunt and cack-handed" in their lobbying activities.

Speaking at a Media Trust panel discussion yesterday, Charles Walker, the MP for Broxbourne, said: "Charities often write to MPs asking us to write to ministers to express their disquiet. They assume their concerns must be our concerns. That’s almost bullying, to be honest.

"Lots of the lobbying MPs are subjected to is blunt and cackhanded."

Walker said some charities, such as Macmillan Cancer Support and a local hospice charity in his constituency, were very good at communicating with him.

"They invite me to events they are holding locally," he said. "It’s almost impossible for an MP to turn down an invitation from a charity that is doing good work in his or her constituency."

But he said many charities thought they had a right to funding and support, and did not understand that they were competing with a lot of other worthy causes.

Walker singled out email campaigns as an example of bad lobbying. "When I receive a template letter that a charity has asked supporters just to top and tail, it makes me wonder how important the issue can really be if people haven’t bothered to write their own letters," he said.

Asked whether the government’s big society agenda would cushion the blow of spending cuts and a drop in donations, Walker said: "The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. I think the charitable sector is probably right to be circumspect about what’s on offer at the moment."

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