Derek Draper, disgraced lobbyist and former aide to Peter
Mandelson, has called for a two-year cooling-off period to be imposed on
lobbyists before they can enter government as special advisers.
Speaking at the Neill Committee on Standards in Public Life’s
investigation into lobbyists, Draper rounded on his former profession,
suggesting that its practitioners should be subject to the most
He said that as well as a cooling-off period for lobbyists entering
government, special advisers should wait two years before joining
Two years is the maximum period senior civil servants and ministers, who
are more senior than special advisers, have to wait before moving into
industries related to their government jobs.
’If you choose to be a lobbyist you forego the right to slip into
government six months later and vice versa,’ Draper said. He added that
his former employer, lobbying agency GPC, would have paid a ’huge
salary’ to any former special adviser leaving government because of the
extra business they might attract.
Draper called for a statutory registration scheme that would clearly
identify lobbyists, whether they worked in agencies or for law firms,
for example. He said City law firms regularly carry out lobbying
He also suggested the introduction of a log book to record contacts
between lobbyists, ministers and advisers which would act as ’an
insurance against allegations of untoward behaviour’.
He believed the relationship between the Government and lobbying
agencies was still too close for comfort. ’The intertwining of New
Labour and lobbyists should be separated out because it does not seem
very much has changed since a year ago,’ he said.
P The increasing number of politically-appointed special advisers has
relieved the burden on Government Information and Communication Service
staff, according to GICS head Mike Granatt. Giving evidence to the Neill
Committee on Standards in Public Life last week, Granatt argued that
politically sensitive work could now be farmed out to special advisers,
thereby preserving the neutrality of GICS information officers. He said:
’The special adviser is able to act in a political way that the civil
service finds difficult.
It’s brought some clarity and takes some of the risk from civil service
positions, so GICS information officers don’t find themselves under