Fifteen per cent of new Tory MPs worked as lobbyists, research finds

Nearly 15 per cent of the new crop of Tory MPs have come directly from lobbying backgrounds, a report by Spinwatch has revealed.

Lobbying past: nearly 15 per cent of Tory MPs
Lobbying past: nearly 15 per cent of Tory MPs

Nineteen of the 143 newly elected Conservative MPs worked as lobbyists, including former Portland PR associate director George Eustice, who is now MP for Camborne and Redruth. Portland PR education associate Charlotte Leslie took Bristol North West.

Bell Pottinger Public Affairs chairman Peter Bingle said that the figures would lead to greater scrutiny of MPs.

‘People will be looking very carefully at MPs who used to work for Lexington, for example, and what questions they put to the Commons,’ said Bingle. ‘It will force the Conservatives to be even tougher, to show they are independent and whiter than white.’

However, Bingle added that the figures could help the public affairs industry: ‘I think it is helpful to have MPs that work in public affairs so they understand how business and government needs to work together.'

In its report, Spinwatch listed former Weber Shandwick director Priti Patel, who is MP for Witham; Damien Collins, who came from Lexington Communications to take Folkestone and Hythe; and Penny Mordaunt, former associate at Hanover and MP for Portsmouth North.

The news follows the coalition Government’s pledge to implement a statutory register of lobbyists.

Spinwatch spokesman David Miller said: ‘Only the swift introduction of an effective register can allay concerns that the Tories are up to their necks in lobbying. It is time for David Cameron to show that he means what he says when it comes to lobbying and transparency in politics.’

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