The audience heard speeches from former PR consultant and now curate George Pitcher and Vodafone comms chief Simon Lewis, who argued that PR has a duty to be honest and transparent. Max Clifford and lecturer PR Simon Goldsworthy disagreed.
The ‘truth' motion was defeated by 138 votes to 124.
The victorious Clifford insisted that lying was sometimes necessary to achieve the greater good.
Peter Crumpler, director of comms at the Church of England, who attended the debate, responded: ‘I was dismayed.
Truth and integrity have to be the cornerstones of our profession if we are to have any credibility with the media and the wider world.'