National assemblies urged to follow Euro lobbying code

The new Welsh assembly and Scottish parliament should regulate lobbyists along the same lines as the European Parliament, IPR president Peter Walker said last week at the institute’s Scottish group annual general meeting.

The new Welsh assembly and Scottish parliament should regulate

lobbyists along the same lines as the European Parliament, IPR president

Peter Walker said last week at the institute’s Scottish group annual

general meeting.



The European code of conduct obliges MEPs to declare any assistance

provided by lobbyists and bans lobbyists from donating free gifts to

MEPs, selling parliamentary documents and gaining access to MEPs under

false pretences.



It also forces lobbyists to inform members who they represent. Any

lobbyist breaching the code is refused an entry pass to the

parliament.



Walker said: ’I am concerned that consideration has gone into rights of

access to the new assemblies for the media and politicians, but not

lobbyists. The opportunity is there for transparency and sanctions along

the lines of the model so successfully applied in the European

Union.



Individual parliaments should adopt some form of common framework.’ He

added that, were the Brussels model to be applied in Cardiff and

Edinburgh, it could eventually be implemented in Westminster.



The European code of conduct for lobbyists was passed over a year ago by

the European Parliament, following draft proposals put forward by Labour

MEP Glynn Ford in 1996. It applies to all lobby groups accredited with

the parliament, including agencies, but also pressure groups.



- Echoing Walker’s call, Maria Laptev, director of GPC Market Access

Europe, this week argued for a global approach to lobbyist regulations

at a seminar in Edinburgh organised by think-tank, the Scottish Council

Foundation. She said: ’What wouldn’t be helpful would be to have a code

of conduct which was only valid for Scotland. It would close the door on

people who have just as valid a case to make.’



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