26/08/2013 09:27 BST | Updated 26/10/2013 06:12 BST

New Lobbying Bill Will Affect Charities' Ability To Campaign On Political Issues

Protest placards are used to create a piece of art after a rally in Hyde Park, London, following the TUC March for the Alternative against government spending cuts.

The Electoral Commission, Britain's elections watchdog, has concluded that government plans to curb political campaigning by charities before a general election are flawed and in part unworkable.

In a private briefing sent to interested parties, the commission says that it has "significant concerns" about the coalition's lobbying bill, that some parts of it may be unenforceable and that it is not at all clear how the new restrictions affecting charities will work.

The strength of the commission's criticisms will embolden campaigners hoping for a government U-turn, although the speed with which the government is planning to push the bill through the Commons has raised fears that ministers are not in the mood for compromise.