Some obsessions know no bounds. Norman Baker, Lib Dem MP for Lewes,
East Sussex, established last week that the Government had sent out
13,500 press releases a year since coming to power - that’s one for
every nine minutes of each working day.
’If you stack up all the press releases issued since 1997, they make a
pile taller than Big Ben,’ Barker tells the Diary, ’but many are not
news. They are relaunches of relaunches’.
He considers his campaign against excessive Government PR to be a vital
example of how to scrutinise an over-powerful executive and is now
questioning several Government ministers on just how much each press
If the departments all produce similar figures when they answer him next
week, he will multiply the number by 13,500 to find the headline figure
of total costs. If they all come up with different figures, he will want
to know why.
PR Week only hopes Baker can convince his constituency that his
obsession is in their interest - having relieved the Tories of Lewes for
the first time in 123 years in 1997, Baker’s majority is only 1,300.
Perhaps he can drum up a bit more support by releasing his findings via
a press release?