6 Jan 2009 15:19:44

Is lobbying regulated adequately?

The House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee published a report yesterday. A thorough investigation into lobbying, it calls for a statutory register of lobbying activities:

"Lobbying the government should, in a democracy, involve explicit agreement about the terms on which this lobbying is conducted. The result of doing nothing would be to increase public mistrust of Government, and to solidify the impression that government listens to favoured groups—big business and party donors in particular—with far more attention than it gives to others."

The Association of Professional Political Consultants regulates the industry, but on a voluntary basis, and the committee called this arrangement "little better than the Emperor's new clothes". It also expressed concern about the high influx of former ministers into the industry.

A summary of the report and a link to the whole thing - which calls for far greater transparency - is available here.

Tom Greeves, who wrote this post, undertakes work for a variety of PR and lobbying companies. (And is indeed available for more of it!)