Lord Blencathra lobbying contract revelations show Government is chasing "wrong target"

A lobbying contract signed by Conservative Party peer Lord Blencathra uncovered by The Independent highlights how the Government's lobbying bill is failing to target the problem, a public affairs specialist has argued.

Cayman Islands: focus of contract with Lord Blencathra
Cayman Islands: focus of contract with Lord Blencathra

Labour Party-inclined Interel Group director Lee Whitehill said that a story in The Independent, alleging that Lord Blencathra had signed a £12,000-a-month contract which stated he would lobby Parliament on behalf of the government of tax haven the Cayman Islands, further shows how the Government’s response is inappropriate.

"The trend is for politicians to get themselves into trouble, and it’s not the lobbying teams or in-house teams that are at fault," he said. "The Government’s response, in terms of the bill, is inappropriate because it is going after the wrong target."

The bill, which will introduce a lobbying register, has been criticised as failing to address issues around transparency.

Former Conservative Party chief whip Lord Blencathra has previously denied that he ever lobbied MPs and peers in written evidence to an investigation by the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards.

He has not responded to a request for comment by PRWeek, but told The Independent that this evidence was correct and the lobbying clause was never acted upon.

"My compliance with the law or Lords Rules takes precedence over anything which was in my contract," he said.

"I made clear that I would not be lobbying Parliament or MPs. Indeed, even that initial contract made no mention of lobbying. That was firmly understood between us."

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