Select committee to launch lobbying inquiry amid fresh calls for register

The Commons public administration select committee is planning to launch a fresh inquiry into lobbying.

Launch: fresh inquiry into lobbying
Launch: fresh inquiry into lobbying

The news follows renewed pressure on the government to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists.

A spokesperson said: ‘The committee will shortly be announcing details of an inquiry into the Government’s progress on the establishment of a statutory register of lobbyists, following up on the recommendations of the Committee in the last Parliament.’

At the same time, Labour MP Michael Meacher has tabled a parliamentary motion on the subject. 

It states: ‘This House believes that Adam Werritty breached Civil Service guidance on the conduct of Ministerial meetings for 16 months; notes that Ministers had over 1,500 meetings with corporate representatives in the first 10 months of the Coalition.’

The motion also calls on the Government ‘to require that all Ministerial meetings with lobbyists are logged on an open public register, including the topics discussed at those meetings, the organisation that the lobbyists represent and who ultimately funds them’.

It is more than two years since the Commons public administration select committee completed its last investigation into lobbying.

In January 2009, the committee called for all meetings between MPs and lobbyists to be detailed in a new register.

The Labour Government held back from implementing a statutory register of lobbyists, but the policy was included in the 2010 Coalition agreement. 

Following speculation that ministers would accelerate plans to set up a statutory register, Number 10 said this week that the timetable would not be changed. It means legislation is still due to be introduced in 2012, following a consultation paper due to be published ‘quite soon’, according to the Prime Minister's spokesman.

The select committee has also launched an inquiry into the role of the head of the civil service. During this inquiry, the committee will examine the response of the civil service to the issues arising from Adam Werrity’s access to the former defence secretary Liam Fox.

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