Labour calls for all-inclusive statutory lobbying register

Labour is calling for a statutory register of lobbyists to include all professional lobbyists, a code of conduct and sanctions.

Jon Trickett: 'Government is trying to avoid meaningful legislation even now' (credit: Alex Deverill)
Jon Trickett: 'Government is trying to avoid meaningful legislation even now' (credit: Alex Deverill)

The party’s policy was set out last night by shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett, speaking at an event hosted in the Commons by transparency pressure group Unlock Democracy.

The speech follows the coalition promising to deliver fresh proposals for legislation for a statutory lobbying register before the summer in the wake of a number of media stings seeking to expose parliamentarians.

Trickett called for legislation to include a clear definition of professional lobbying and a clear code of conduct, of which the first line should be to forbid financial relations between lobbyists and parliamentarians.

He added that sanctions for code breaches should include removal from the register.

Trickett criticised the Government for delaying a register and ‘trying to avoid meaningful legislation even now’, as well as highlighting Conservative ties to lobbyists, claiming 82 Tory MPs have declared links to the lobbying industry.

Of the industry itself, he said: ‘There is no obligation in Britain for a lobbyist to identify who they are, what they do, the sources of the finance, or who their ultimate client is. The best operate an ethical code. The rest operate in the shadows.’

Emily Wallace, the chair of the PRCA’s Public Affairs group, said: ‘It is good to hear that Jon Trickett confirm that he will be calling for a universal register of lobbyists.’
 
‘We would be keen to see a political consensus on this, and would welcome cross party discussions with the industry on how best to introduce a statutory register which promotes greater transparency in lobbying.’

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