Lobby fees on course to enter public domain

The intimate details of lobbying contracts involving members of the House of Lords are to be laid bare under proposals made this week by Lord Neill.

The intimate details of lobbying contracts involving members of the House of Lords are to be laid bare under proposals made this week by Lord Neill.

Neill's committee on standards in public life presented its seventh report to Parliament yesterday (Thursday) with a host of recommendations aimed at clearing up the grey area of lobbying peers.

Neill recommends that peers who have consultancy agreements for political advice should deposit a copy of the contract with the registrar of members' interests.

Pointedly, Neill recommends that the house 'should ensure that deposited agreements and details as to the remuneration derived from parliamentary services (should) be made available for public inspection'.

Neill also passed comment on the declaration of financial interests lords may have in companies engaged in lobbying.

APPC chairman Michael Burrell told Neill that to discriminate against lobbying firms was unfair since law and management consultancy firms both now also offered public affairs advice. This view is reflected in Neill's recommendation that 'the requirement to register is not confined only to those members with interests in lobbying firms, narrowly defined'.



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