20 September 2017
South Gloucestershire Green Party today called for the group lobbying for the new 18A motorway junction to come clean and tell the public who they are.
The group, Gateway2Growth, has been lobbying MPs and Councillors for years, but has no listed members and won’t reveal who funds it. Greens spokesperson Richard Burton said, “It cannot be democratic for a secret group to seek to influence decisions which affect the whole of the community. Whatever special interests this group represents should be openly declared, not hidden behind a faceless lobby group and web page.”
The only person listed on the group’s webpage is James Turgoose, a lobbyist working for a company called JSP, which describes itself on its website as “a politically, business and communtiy-led (sic) communications and engagement consultancy.” When asked who the members of Gateway2Growth were, Mr Turgoose replied that it wasn’t a membership organisation, but has not responded to a request about who funds it.
Mr Burton continued, “If this group was genuinely interested in the community why would it have hired a lobby group to campaign for this junction and hidden behind it, instead of coming out into the open? It seems likely that it is the people who will make millions from this new junction, the developers or road builders perhaps. What chance does democracy and the views of residents have when our MPs and councillors have been influenced by a secret group, lobbying for this junction to make money out of it?”
The website of Gateway2Growth lists the views of three MPs, two Councillors and a few business people, all of whom enthusiastically praise this proposal. South Glos Green Party called on Gateway2Growth to reveal its membership and funding, and for the MPs and councillors who have expressed their support to consult openly with residents on their concerns over this new junction.
Mr Burton, who led the enquiries, said, “We want democracy, not some hole and corner secret organisation hoodwinking our elected representatives, and we want the facts, not the golden vision put forward by those who will make millions from this scheme.”
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