EDITORIAL: Regulatory proposal is unfeasible

The proposal by Greenpeace UK executive director Peter Melchett that the Neill Committee extends the regulatory net to cover not only formal meetings but also informal contact between lobbyists and MPs is regulatory fever taken to a ludicrous extreme. No doubt many NGOs feel they have a raw deal in comparison to agency and in-house lobbyists, and certainly any regulation would need to address the interest of charities and pressure groups, but this particular proposal is both unnecessary and unworkable.

The proposal by Greenpeace UK executive director Peter Melchett

that the Neill Committee extends the regulatory net to cover not only

formal meetings but also informal contact between lobbyists and MPs is

regulatory fever taken to a ludicrous extreme. No doubt many NGOs feel

they have a raw deal in comparison to agency and in-house lobbyists, and

certainly any regulation would need to address the interest of charities

and pressure groups, but this particular proposal is both unnecessary

and unworkable.



To attempt to regulate every conceivable contact with elected MPs,

appointed Whitehall ministers or civil servants , would make the every

day work of public affairs consultants impossible, thereby depriving

ministers and officials of essential intelligence that lobbyists

provide.



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