DIARY: First-class lobbyist given aisle seat

Lobbyists have not had an easy ride in the press recently: the PR discipline has been under more fire than a cow walking through a Texan farm during a famine.

But this week, Diary can report there has been good news pulsating through media veins that can be directly attributed to a lobbyist. 

Jonathan Roberts, a director at Grayling Political Strategy, has proved love and marriage go together like a train and carriage by picking up his significant other on the South West Trains commute between Waterloo and Somerset.

Last week, the train firm celebrated the happy union by giving the couple the very seats where the lightning of love struck in April 2006.

Roberts married in September the same year, and his wedding had a train theme, which even ran to a 6ft-high, train-shaped cake.

Late last year, Roberts' newly wed Jacqueline learned that the train fleet was being refurbished and called the Salisbury depot manager Lisa Hindley to ask if the old seats could be made available. The couple made a £1,000 donation at Waterloo to the 'Railway Children', an international charity that supports street children living in and around stations.

Appropriately enough, Jonathan heads the consultancy's transport, local government and planning practice at Grayling. Rumour has it he was chuffa-chuffa-chuffed with the seats.

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