Lobbying shop AS Biss & Co was this week cleared by the APPC of
breaching its code of conduct in relation to allegations of sharp
practice in last Saturday's Times.
Under the headline 'Lobby firm misleads over Labour links,' the paper
alleged that the five year old firm had unfairly inflated the level of
seniority of some of its junior staff during earlier work stints at the
Labour Party's Millbank HQ.
Reviving memories of late-Nineties public affairs scandals involving
lobbyists Ian Greer and Derek Draper, The Times printed a picture of
agency founder and chairman Adele Biss next to images of the pair.
Biss said this week she was considering all her options, thought to
include the possibility of legal action or an approach to the Press
Complaints Commission: 'We want to ensure that The Times does not repeat
these allegations and to draw a line under this matter as swiftly as
A general meeting of the APPC planned for last Monday saw the issue of
Biss's and the industry's response to The Times allegations added to the
agenda at the last minute. More than half the body's 24 members were
represented, including AS Biss, through consultant Tim Payton.
APPC chairman Michael Burrell said: 'This is a reminder of the sensitive
sector we work in. People need to be careful not to make exaggerated
claims. APPC members unanimously agreed there had been no breach of our
code in this case.'
Biss said: 'AS Biss never hypes its connections. We have had rapid
growth on the back of high calibre people offering good quality advice
in which our clients have confidence. We have a strong rebuttal and
refutation of the claims made. This is now in the hands of The Times for
them to consider.'