Mayor called on to revise APPC stance

London mayor Boris Johnson has been urged to overhaul his predecessor Ken Livingstone's approach to using public affairs agencies.

Under pressure to reverse policy on lobbying agencies
Under pressure to reverse policy on lobbying agencies

Livingstone last year pledged that City Hall would only use agencies that demonstrate 'adherence to the ethical rules of the industry' (PRWeek, 23 August 2007). His stance caused unease among those agencies that were not signed up to the Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC).

But this week it emerged that Tory MP and chair of the business and enterprise select committee Peter Luff had asked Johnson to reverse Livingstone's stance, which he claims is anti-competitive. Luff told PRWeek: 'I have written to Boris, politely enquiring if he would be tearing up Ken's rules.'

Luff has also asked the Met Office to scrap controversial plans for an APPC-only pitch (PRWeek, 20 June) and recently met the body's top lobbyist, Phil Evans. 'I explained my concern about the precedent the office's action could set across the public sector, and explained this would be both undemocratic and anti-competitive,' said Luff.

But Evans has said the Met Office will press ahead with the APPC-only pitch as planned. However, he conceded it would 'broaden its qualification criteria' for future pitches to take in 'members of APPC, or any other organisation that is prepared to demonstrate adherence to an equivalent code of conduct'.

The Mayor's Office had not provided a response by the time PRWeek went to press.

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