After four failed attempts to become an MP, the deputy chairman of
Citigate Westminster has finally made it to Parliament: from July he
will be sitting in the somewhat plusher surroundings of the House of
Richard Faulkner seems to have no qualms about cutting all ties with the
agency he founded 22 years ago, beyond occasional new business and
marketing advice for Citigate’s parent company, Incepta. ’For me this is
the dream change of career. I didn’t think it would happen,’ he
Talking to him less than a week after the announcement of his elevation,
and before the title itself has been made public, he has clearly moved
on. If his body is still in the office he calls ’my cupboard’ at
Citigate, his mind is firmly on the Labour benches of the Lords.
Faulkner is one of the founding fathers of the lobbying industry. He
started a political division for PR consultancy FJ Lyons in 1971, with
the help of the man he calls his mentor and ’the original spin doctor’ -
William Camp, a former director of information at what was then the
British Steel Corporation.
’We went into business just before GJW. He probably wouldn’t admit it
now, but (GJW chairman) Wilf Weeks used to say at the time: ’what we
want to do is be like Richard Faulkner and Will Camp’,’ Faulkner says
with just a hint of the one-upmanship which has earned him a few
Faulkner and Camp went on to found Camden Associates, which was merged
with PR agency Murray Evans Associates to form Westminster
Communications in 1987, by which time Camp had left. Ten years later,
after 20 years of being his own boss, Faulkner sold out to Citigate, a
decision he describes as ’momentous’ and ’traumatic’.
A quick glance at a selection of the clients Faulkner has advised during
his 28 years in consultancy - the Football Trust, Littlewoods, the
British Railways Board - suggests that he is both railway-mad and a
football fanatic. Camden Associates was actually based in the
headquarters of the British Railways Board - the agency’s biggest
His trainspotter and footie credentials are confirmed by the array of
sports and transport organisations he has been involved with on a
personal basis - Cardiff’s new stadium, Transport 2000 and the
Government’s Football Taskforce are just three. It is perhaps fitting
that a man of such multiple interests should admit: ’I don’t have a long
enough attention span. I move from issue to issue too much.’
As if symbolising th seamless fabric of Faulkner’s professional and
personal lives, a couple of gleaming tickets for the Wales-South Africa
opening rugby match at Cardiff stadium sit next to his computer in his
’I’ve been very lucky in that a great part of my life I’ve been able to
enjoy the things I’ve done professionally,’ he admits.
The flip side of this is his political failure: the closest he got to
elected office was in the 1979 general election, when he missed winning
the Huddersfield West seat by a mere 1,500 votes.
’Life would have been very different, and at the time I was
disappointed. But life in the Labour Party was pretty unpleasant in the
early-1980s,’ he says sanguinely.
The party is, of course, a much happier place now. Faulkner will
undoubtedly feel at home, having been a member since hhis days at
Merchant Taylors’ school in Hertfordshire.
His family is also steeped in the non-conformist political tradition
which has informed both the Liberal and Labour parties. Part of that
political heritage is an impressive collection of David Lloyd George
memorabilia which he inherited from his grandfather.
The Government’s chief whip in the Lords, Lord Carter, is a close friend
of Faulkner’s. ’Richard is very able. He is articulate and personable
and ambitious to do the best job in the Labour party,’ Carter says. At
the age of 53, it looks as if Faulkner has finally found his resting
Co-founder, Camden Associates
Managing director, Westminster Communications
Deputy chairman, Citigate Westminster
Elevated to House of Lords