All-party parliamentary group
An all-party parliamentary group (APPG) is a grouping in the Parliament of the United Kingdom that is composed of members of parliament from all political parties. APPGs are informal cross-party groups of members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. APPGs generally have officers drawn from the major political parties and strive to avoid favouring one political party or another.
APPG members meet to discuss a particular issue of concern and explore relevant issues relating to their topic. APPGs regularly examine issues of policy relating to a particular areas, discussing new developments, inviting stakeholders and government ministers to speak at their meetings, and holding inquiries into a pertinent matter. APPGs have no formal place in the legislature, but are an effective way of bringing together parliamentarians and interested stakeholders.
Every APPG must hold at least two meetings during its reporting year, one of which must be an annual general meeting (AGM) or a meeting which involves an inaugural election of officers. APPGs cease to exist when Parliament is dissolved for a general election, and must be reconstituted.
The official register of APPGs is updated about every six weeks. The number of APPGs is very variable. For example, in 2015 there were more than 550 APPGs. On 2 January 2019, there were 692 APPGs. As of 24 February 2020, there were 355 APPGs.
APPGs allow campaign groups, charities, and other non-governmental organisations active in the field to become involved in discussions and influence politicians. Often a relevant charity or other organisation will provide a secretariat for the APPG, helping to arrange meetings and keeping track of its members. Examples of this include:
- Survival International acting as secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tribal Peoples.
- Humanists UK acting as secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group.
- The APPG on Christianity being administered by a staff member from the Bible Society.
- Housing Justice administering the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Homelessness and Housing Need.
Other ways of administering APPGs include borrowing capacity from an MP or peer's office, or by employing staff independently. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief, for example, employs two members of staff paid for through subscriptions from its stakeholders. The APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development uses a similar model.
Other APPGs may have less stringent administrative needs, such as the UK parliament's All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group.
Associate parliamentary groups
In the Parliament of the United Kingdom, an associate parliamentary group is similar to an all-party parliamentary group except that it is made up of not only members of the House of Commons or Lords but can also include members from outside Parliament.
In early 2016, the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists launched an inquiry into concerns that APPGs were being used to bypass lobbying registration rules, following reports that lobbyists were acting as APPG secretariats and so gaining access to legislators.
As sponsorship for trip to Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir" between 18 and 22 February 2020, the APPG on Kashmir (APPGK), chaired by Labour MP Debbie Abrahams, received a "benefit in kind" of amounting £31,501 (Rs 29.7 lakh) and £33,000 (Rs 31.2 lakh) on February 18, 2020 from the Government of Pakistan.
- All-party Parliamentary Groups BBC Democracy Live. Retrieved March 2011
- "Register of APPGs". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
- Rajeev Syal, Caelainn Barr (6 January 2017). "Lobbying tsar investigates all-party parliamentary groups". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
- "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups as at 2 January 2019: Contents". publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
- "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups as at 24 February 2020: Contents". publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2020-03-14.
- Canton, Naomi. "UK House team got 30 lakh Pak sops for POK trip - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2020-07-17.