DIARY: BBC programme exposes the serious role of lobbying in policy making

The Hamilton/Greer case has put the lobbying industry firmly under the spotlight. Now I have news of another attempt to lift the lid on its secrets.

The Hamilton/Greer case has put the lobbying industry firmly under the

spotlight. Now I have news of another attempt to lift the lid on its

secrets.



Journalist Michael Cockerell and producer Alison Cahn, the team behind

the BBC’s fly-on-the-wall programme on the whip’s office - Westminster’s

Secret Service - are together again and working on a programme on

lobbying for transmission in January or February. Jenny Jeger, the J in

GJW, who left the firm last year, is acting as a consultant.



Cockerell, you may remember, was the reporter on the 1986 Panorama

programme Maggie’s Militant Tendency, which suggested (falsely) that

Neil Hamilton had links with extreme racist groups.



Hamilton sued successfully and the BBC apologised.



Sources at the BBC insist the programme was begun long before the

current media storm about Hamilton’s links with Ian Greer Associates.

‘It’s a serious industry, which has grown immensely and has become part

of the policy making process...something that has been obscured by all

the sensationalist reporting,’ says the source.



Phew, the lobbying industry can rest easy then.



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