Lobbying firms among those making use of parliamentary banqueting facilities

The lobbying firm Political Intelligence has emerged as the agency making most use of Palace of Westminster dining facilities in recent years.

Westminster dining facilities: used by lobbying firms
Westminster dining facilities: used by lobbying firms

Documents released yesterday reveal which MPs hired dining facilities in the Palace of Westminster to host events for outside organisations. The list released by parliament covers the period from 1 April 2004 to 30 September 2009, and runs to 181 pages.

Political Intelligence, headed by MD Nicholas Lansman, racks up 10 mentions in the list of external bookings by MPs. Among those MPs to sign in the firm was shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, who hosted a reception in Strangers Dining Room.

The second most popular agency on yesterday's list is Edelman with eight mentions, including a dinner for 14 people hosted by John Bercow, now Speaker. Lexington Communications comes in third with four mentions,

Bell Pottinger is one of a handful of agencies listed just once. According to the records Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey hosted a reception for 60 people on behalf of the agency. Meanwhile other big agency players such as Fleishman-Hillard and Fishburn Hedges do not show up at all on the list.

Yet despite the list running from 2004 to 2009, few lobbying firms appear to be listed after 2007. Agency bosses contacted by PRWeek wewre unable to explain this, but one industry source suggested it was related to a change of rules.

The rules on how MPs could book the banqueting rooms, most of which have views across the Thames, were clarified in March 2007 after a complaint that they were being used by Tory MPs for fundraising events.

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