Diary: Neill member puts lobbying on the ethical spot

Was Sir William Utting, member of the Neill Committee on Standards in Public Life, playing devil’s advocate when last week he asked whether lobbyists were ’wicked’ people?

Was Sir William Utting, member of the Neill Committee on Standards

in Public Life, playing devil’s advocate when last week he asked whether

lobbyists were ’wicked’ people?



When questioning Michael Watson, a former director of lobbying outfit PS

Communications Consultant and now a member of the Scottish Parliament,

Utting asked: ’Are you earwigged by fanatics offering gifts and

hospitality ... do you draw a distinction between profitable concerns

and charities ... are the commercial lobbyists wicked people (as

opposed) to those who work for the good of humanity?’



As president of the National Institute for Social Work and a

distinguished campaigner on social issues, including the protection of

children and mental health, Utting’s sympathies clearly lie with those

who, like himself, have worked for the good of humanity.



Perhaps his question was a little tongue in cheek. But Utting’s remarks

show lobbyists may need to do a little PR for themselves if his views

are at all representative of the rest of the Neill Committee.



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