Diary: CIPR chief sexes up lobbying inquiry

The CIPR and lobbying do not necessarily inspire images of madcap frolics, laughter-filled nights on the tiles or detailed discussions about sexual proclivities. And this is a good thing - certainly, it is not the role of the CIPR or lobbyists to fill any of these functions.

Hats off, though, to CIPR immediate past president Lionel Zetter for livening up a fairly staid select committee session last week. The urbane lobbyist, who claims to hold the record for the longest lunch in public affairs (12 hours), was summoned to appear before the MPs as they pressed on with their inquiry into the industry.

Our mole tells us that, until Zetter got into his stride, the meeting was proving more suicide-inducing than a trawl through Celine Dion's back catalogue after five sleepless years in Guantanamo.

Things began to look up when Zetter veered away from parliamentary protocol by proclaiming that 'people at the saloon bar of the Dog and Duck... couldn't give a rat's arse about lobbying'.

Then a few minutes later he confidently told MPs: 'There's good and bad lobbying, just like there's good and bad sex - but I think most of us prefer to have bad sex than no sex at all.'

If you say so, Lionel. Diary is assured awkward fumbling around, hard questioning about your real intentions and blowing it before you've even started are all classic examples of bad lobbying.

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