Public Affairs: The Week in Lobbying

The Labour Party launched a campaign to present Labour as 'the party of the countryside' at its conference on Tuesday.

The party has teamed up with film producer David Puttnam to create a video promoting its 'Back the apple' campaign. The campaign focuses on Government plans to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board, the body that sets minimum wages for farm workers and fruit pickers in England and Wales.

Virgin Media has hired Portland partner Tony Pilch to fill the new role of director of public affairs. Virgin has retained Portland to handle public affairs since 2010. In the new role, Pilch will report to executive director of corporate affairs and media Paul Richmond. Matt Rogerson remains head of public affairs.

Digital Europe, the Brussels-based association for the IT and consumer electronics sectors, has named UK tech sector veteran John Higgins as its new director-general. He joins from Intellect, the trade association for the tech sector in the UK and one of Digital Europe's founding members.

Burson-Marsteller will offer clients localised PR and advocacy campaigns when it joins up with US grassroots comms firm Direct Impact from 3 October. Direct Impact uses a political campaign-style approach to tailor campaigns to communities.

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