APPC clears AS Biss over attack by Times

Lobbying shop AS Biss & Co was this week cleared by the APPC of

breaching its code of conduct in relation to allegations of sharp

practice in last Saturday's Times.



Under the headline 'Lobby firm misleads over Labour links,' the paper

alleged that the five year old firm had unfairly inflated the level of

seniority of some of its junior staff during earlier work stints at the

Labour Party's Millbank HQ.



Reviving memories of late-Nineties public affairs scandals involving

lobbyists Ian Greer and Derek Draper, The Times printed a picture of

agency founder and chairman Adele Biss next to images of the pair.



Biss said this week she was considering all her options, thought to

include the possibility of legal action or an approach to the Press

Complaints Commission: 'We want to ensure that The Times does not repeat

these allegations and to draw a line under this matter as swiftly as

possible.'



A general meeting of the APPC planned for last Monday saw the issue of

Biss's and the industry's response to The Times allegations added to the

agenda at the last minute. More than half the body's 24 members were

represented, including AS Biss, through consultant Tim Payton.



APPC chairman Michael Burrell said: 'This is a reminder of the sensitive

sector we work in. People need to be careful not to make exaggerated

claims. APPC members unanimously agreed there had been no breach of our

code in this case.'



Biss said: 'AS Biss never hypes its connections. We have had rapid

growth on the back of high calibre people offering good quality advice

in which our clients have confidence. We have a strong rebuttal and

refutation of the claims made. This is now in the hands of The Times for

them to consider.'



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