Describe the influence pressure groups have on Parliament

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Describe the influence pressure groups have on Parliament

Pressure groups are assemblies of individuals who all hold a similar set of ideas and beliefs. They campaign for changes in the law or new legislations in specific areas such as ethnicity, religion or political philosophy. The different pressure groups use different methods to get their point across, all of which have a strong influence on public opinion and voting behaviour.

There are pressure groups concerned with almost every issue and every section of society so there are a variety of methods used to get their point across. Many pressure groups state their cases through written means like writing to officials and editors. They may also write to members of parliament in order to get them on their side and talking about their cause in parliament. Pressure groups also influence parliament as some MP’s belong to pressure groups and sympathise with their causes. Some MP’s also receive payment for promoting certain pressure groups so the topics they feel strong about are sometimes bought into parliament. There are some very large and wealthy pressure groups which can afford to pay many MP’s to promote their causes in Parliament which in affect will get their points across quicker and more efficiently. Other smaller pressure groups which do not have the same wealth as larger ones suffer with this downfall as it is a lot harder to get their points into parliament so will often turn to demonstrations to get the governments attention.

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Direct contact with the public is one of the most popular methods used by pressure groups. These include door-to-door canvassing and more favourably, large demonstrations. Greenpeace is known for its sometimes controversial demonstrations such as Arctic 30 which saw 30 members of their group jailed in Russia for protesting against oil drilling. They have also been criticised for their campaign on the Nazca Lines which saw part of the historical feature ruined by their campaigners. Another popular example is the 750,000 people who took to the streets of London to voice their opinion on the Iraq war.


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