Lobbying works - it's official

Campaigners have more influence over the legislative process than they realise, according to a book published today.

The book by the Hansard Society says parliamentarians, especially those in opposition, rely heavily on information provided by external groups. The most effective groups are the most focused, sometimes on only one cause, and have specific parliamentary supporters.

Law in the Making: Influence and Change in the Legislative Process examines five pieces of legislation passed in the past six years, tracking them through each stage of the legislative process and noting influences. It also contains 80 interviews with government ministers, MPs, peers and pressure groups.

Research for the book found that private members' bills are shaped by agreements between parliamentarians and interest groups, whereas government bills are shaped in different ways.

Fiona Booth, chief executive of the Hansard Society, said: "Outside bodies can have a definite impact on government proposals at policy development and consultation stages. This, combined with parliamentary scrutiny, both in the Commons and the Lords, does make a significant difference to legislation."

Recent legislation studied in the book, which was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, includes the Export Control Act 2002, the Equality Act 2006, the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, the Legislative and Regulatory Act 2006 and the Welfare Reform Act 2007.

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