Nick Clegg lobbying register reassurances 'not enough'

Nick Clegg's pledge over a register of lobbyists has been met with cynicism by the industry.

Nick Clegg: Supports a lobbying register
Nick Clegg: Supports a lobbying register

The Deputy Prime Minister yesterday said the Government would ‘honour’ its pledge on creating a register of lobbyists.

His words come after widespread concern that plans had been quietly dropped, fears heightened by the proposals not being included in The Queen’s Speech earlier this month.

Mr Clegg said: ‘I do think we need to just honour what we said in the coalition agreement... Like everything in politics, the more open and transparent you can be about stuff the better.’

In response, a CIPR statement claimed that the pledge was ‘not enough.’

It said: ‘The Government consultation is more than a year old and we still have no clarity on whether the Government intends to introduce a register that will cover all lobbyists, or only the few it envisaged in its inadequate proposal. It needs to engage with the industry now to give its pledge some credibility.’

Last year, a consultation on the proposals was met with calls for the planned register to be expanded beyond agency-side lobbyists.

At the time PRCA director-general Francis Ingham warned that any register that excluded those in-house could be ‘illegal.’

Yesterday, Clegg insisted he remained committed to introducing the register by 2015, but added that he had been unable to secure agreement from both sides of the coalition.

Emily Wallace, PRCA Public Affairs Group chairman, said: 'If Nick Clegg is serious about delivering greater transparency, then he needs to make sure that any Bill to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists covers more than those currently covered by the existing voluntary registers. It is a completely wasted opportunity to increase transparency if a statutory register of lobbyists only covers primarily those who are already transparent.’

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