MPs query CIPR 's lobbyist register and self-regulation

Two MPs have launched an early day motion in the House of Commons to challenge the CIPR on its commitment to regulate lobbyists.

Early day motion: MP Keith Vaz challenged the CIPR’s report
Early day motion: MP Keith Vaz challenged the CIPR’s report

Labour MP Keith Vaz and Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell launched the early day motion on Monday.

In it the MPs reference the CIPR’s 2011 annual report, which states that the membership body has 630 members who lobby, but ‘only 259 are on the UKPAC register’, the industry’s independent list of public affairs professionals.

The motion suggests ‘this is clear evidence that self-regulation of the lobbying industry has failed’, with the MPs going on to argue that a mandatory register is ‘vital’.

The news comes as the Government prepares to re-engage with its plans to develop a lobbying register – it has appointed Conservative Chloe Smith as minister for political and constitutional reform. However, CIPR CEO Jane Wilson responded by dubbing the motion ‘inaccurate and unhelpful’. She urged MPs not to sign it.

Wilson claimed that the motion’s figure for the number of CIPR members who have signed the UKPAC register is wrong. She added that ‘neither of the MPs behind this motion bothered to contact the CIPR’ to check. ‘If they had done so, we could have corrected some of their assumptions about the industry’s position and given them accurate and up-to-date figures,’ she said.

The CIPR also complained that the early day motion implies that the CIPR and UKPAC do not support a mandatory register of lobbyists, adding: ‘The CIPR is on the record, calling for a universal, statutory register that includes all lobbyists’.

The Government is expected to publish a draft bill and White Paper before next May relating to the proposed lobbying register. But decisions regarding the definition and scope of the register have yet to be finalised.

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