Pressure Groups

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Parliamentary Influences Pressure Groups Unit
Pressure groups are groups of individuals that can range from a single person to
several hundred thousand. They work on the ideology that there is strength in numbers
when attempting to influence parliament to pass legislation on an issue. They use a
variety of techniques to support their campaigns such as lobbying ministers and MPs,
marches and demonstrations, petitions and publicity.
There are two types of pressure group:
Sectional Pressure Groups
Sectional pressure groups work to promote the interests of a certain section of society
for example the British Medical Association (BMA) works to promote interests of
medical practitioners, the National Farmers Union works to promote interests of
farmers and the Law Society works to promote the interests of solicitors.
These pressure groups vary in the amount of influence they hold because of
governmental support the major ones tend to have the most influence because they
represent large sections of society and the government needs their support.
Governments who have conflict with the major sectional pressure groups often suffer
losses during elections because these groups are often very wealthy which means they
can afford to produce publicity campaigns etc. These groups are more likely to have
direct access to ministers and MPs
Due to the influence they have it would be unusual for parliament to introduce a law
affecting a particular section of society without consulting the pressure group first the
law could be influences in this consultation process.
Cause Pressure Groups
Cause pressure groups are devoted to promoting a
particular belief or ideal which is an issue for society
for example the Royal Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) campaigns for animal
rights, Greenpeace campaign for the preservation of
the environment and Fathers 4 Justice who campaign
for equal rights for fathers.
These groups usually hold less than the sectional
ones, this means that they are less likely to be consulted on the formative stages of the
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Parliamentary Influences Pressure Groups Unit
law and that they are less likely to have close and direct links to ministers and MPs
though they can still influence law reform is well organised.…read more


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