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Legislation at WestminsterParliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law$
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Meg Russell and Daniel Gover

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198753827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198753827.001.0001

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The Role of Outside Pressure Groups

The Role of Outside Pressure Groups

(p.180) 7 The Role of Outside Pressure Groups
Legislation at Westminster

Meg Russell

Daniel Gover

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the role of outside pressure groups in the Westminster legislative process. Pressure groups include charities, NGOs, companies, professional organizations, and various other groups which seek to influence policy. It is often assumed that such groups focus their attention primarily on the government, not parliament, but this chapter finds their role in the legislative process to be extensive and more important than some previous literature suggests. The chapter considers the various ways in which pressure groups can use Westminster to exert influence, including through relatively new routes such as select committees, public bill committees, and a more assertive House of Lords. It reviews the contributions of pressure groups to the forms of influence explored in other chapters, including informing debate, promoting amendments, and ‘anticipated reactions’. It also emphasizes that parliament can be important for ‘counteractive lobbying’, to protect gains made by groups at earlier stages.

Keywords:   pressure groups, interest groups, NGOs, quangos, counteractive lobbying, select committees, evidence, expertise, agenda setting, Health Bill, smoking ban

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