The Impact of the ‘Anti-Lobby’ Clause on Scientific Criticism of Public Policy

On 6 February 2016, Matthew Hancock, Conservative Minister for the Cabinet Office, announced that a new clause would be inserted into all new and renewed government grant agreements effective 1 May.

Under this clause, those who receive public funding cannot use that funding to “influence or attempt to influence Parliament, government or political parties” or to attempt to “influence legislative or regulatory action.”

The clause has been dubbed the “anti-lobby” or “anti-advocacy” clause because it threatens to block researchers who receive government grants from using their results to influence policy. Critics of the new clause say it amounts to a “muzzling” of scientists and could impact on key policy areas, including climate change. Effectively it could stifle criticism and informed debate about the consequences of government policies.

According to the Cabinet Office announcement, the clause was directly inspired by research done by the free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs – an organisation with known ties to tobacco, oil, and climate denial.

This DeSmog UK series tracks the evolution and impacts of this new policy rule.


In this series

The Cabinet Office has confirmed that it intends to exempt university research grants from its...
By Kyla Mandel, 19 Apr, 2016
The government must publicly announce an exemption as soon as possible for researchers from a “...
By Kyla Mandel, 11 Apr, 2016
The right-wing think tank responsible for inspiring the government’s controversial ‘anti-lobby’...
By Kyla Mandel, 24 Mar, 2016
For over a month now academics, scientists, and MPs continue to wait for the government to clarify...
By Kyla Mandel, 15 Mar, 2016
More than 30 MPs are calling on the UK government to “urgently reconsider” a new clause that would...
By Kyla Mandel, 3 Mar, 2016