Grogan in fresh war of words with Bell Pottinger

Labour MP John Grogan has expressed scepticism about the public affairs industry’s latest attempts to ­deflect criticism ahead of the impending lobbying inquiry by the Public Administration Select Committee.

Grogan was speaking to PRWeek following the publication by the CIPR, PRCA and APPC of a new set of ‘guiding principles’.

The MP said: ‘Until all of the major players, including firms such as Bell Pottinger, abide by the core minimum principles of non-payment of MPs and peers and full disclosure of clients, questions about the transparency of some areas of the industry will remain.’

But Bell Pottinger Public Affairs chair Peter Bingle responded: ‘I am bemused as to why the public affairs ­industry takes any of his comments seriously.’ Bingle added: ‘The guiding principles are a welcome development… The fact remains, however, that this is a complete volte-face by the
APPC and as such I think the chair of the APPC should consider her position and, for the good of the industry, resign.’

APPC chair Gill Morris said: ‘The APPC is at a record high in terms of members – currently numbering more than 50 – and this trend looks set to continue, so talk of our demise is a rather strange proposition.

‘Who exactly are the ­senior practitioners who think that the APPC has had its day? Equally, I cannot think of a time when the ­industry has been as proactive, strong and unified in promoting and furthering standards.’

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