Lord Laird kicked out of CIPR after lobbying sting

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations has terminated the membership of Lord Laird after an inquiry prompted by a media sting on parliamentary lobbying.

Lord Laird: suspended by the House of Lords last year
Lord Laird: suspended by the House of Lords last year

The CIPR’s council today confirmed the recommendation of its Professional Standards Panel that the membership of Lord Laird, a long-standing CIPR fellow, be terminated. 

In a statement, the CIPR pointed to its charter regulations allowing the body to dismiss a member "if in the course of his profession he is found to have breached the rules of a regulatory or other authority by which he is bound, and it is decided… that the breach is sufficiently serious to justify the termination of his institute membership".

The Professional Standards Panel ruled that Lord Laird was acting in the course of his profession, that he was bound by the rules of a regulatory authority for the purposes of the CIPR Regulation and that the matter was sufficiently serious to justify the termination of his institute membership.

The move follows the House of Lords imposing a four-month suspension on Laird at the end of last year.

Last year Laird, who denies any wrongdoing, was caught in a media sting by the BBC’s Panorama and The Daily Telegraph.

Speaking to journalists posing as representatives of the Fijian government, Laird was reported to have agreed to set up a parliamentary group campaigning for the country’s re-admission to the Commonwealth.

Laird was subsequently found to have breached the Lords' code of conduct by failing to "act always on his personal honour" in three respects: by demonstrating a clear willingness to negotiate an agreement to set up an all-party group in return for payment or reward in two separate incidents, and by demonstrating a clear willingness to negotiate an agreement that would involve providing parliamentary services in return for payment or reward.

Laird's appeal against the findings and the recommended sanction of four months was not upheld by the Lords' committee.

Laird, who could not be reached for comment today, has recently said he would return to the House of Lords after his suspension expires and defended his actions, stating to the Belfast Telegraph that he was trying to make the House of Lords more accessible. 

It is understood that no appeal has been lodged against the decision. 

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