Public Affairs: MPs tell lobbyists to up their game

Lobbyists' communication with MPs has been called into question as research has found that most material sent to MPs fails to provide a clear constituency link.

Populus conducted in-depth interviews with 78 MPs throughout 2010 and found the vast majority - 90 per cent - believed a clear constituency link was important when deciding whether to read comms from corporates.

Despite this, MPs estimated that as little as 16 per cent of the communication they received from lobbyists had a clear constituency link.

Populus' research included both qualitative and quantitative interviews with MPs.

One former minister told the pollsters that lobbyists needed to be 'quite sophisticated. Unless there's a constituency connection or a connection to an MP's personal interests, they are really not going to look at it'.

Further emphasising the constituency link, one senior Labour MP interviewed said: 'I don't want a meeting in London, I don't want a glossy brochure and I don't want a standard letter going to all MPs. I want them to focus on me from the constituency upwards.'

But one Conservative MP recalled: 'I did get from Lloyds Bank a fact sheet about my constituency, average wages and that sort of thing. I've kept that and I have it on my desk. That's really relevant to me.'

The findings are part of a series of yet-to-be published research-based articles by Populus examining how corporate and government affairs professionals can more effectively engage with elite stakeholders.

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