Government's stance on lobbying labelled "flawed" as Alison White gets the nod

A key parliamentary committee has taken a swipe at the Government as it approves the choice of former Royal Mail commercial director Alison White to oversee the lobbying register.

Under fire: Government's lobbying stance criticised by the committee (Credit: Thinkstock)
Under fire: Government's lobbying stance criticised by the committee (Credit: Thinkstock)

Despite raising concerns about her experience, the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee stamped its seal of approval of the Cabinet Office’s preferred candidate in a newly released report after grilling White last week. 

The report stated that the committee "raised the candidate’s lack of familiarity with the lobbying industry and lack of a working knowledge of Parliament" but went on to add that it was "satisfied" that White had the "professional competence and personal independence" required for the role of lobbying registrar. 

The committee, however, was less complimentary of the Government’s policy on lobbying, which it called "flawed" before adding its focus was not "with the rights and wrongs of the policy" but on White herself. 

The comments come after widespread dismay in the PR industry that the register would not include in-house lobbyists.  

PRCA director general Francis Ingham, who had previously invited the chosen registrar to shadow a lobbying agency, said: 

"After being ingloriously rushed through Parliament, we are pleased that proper time and consideration has been given to appointing Alison White.

"We share the committee’s concerns surrounding her familiarity with the lobbying industry and the potential need for the registrar to push for changes in the legislation.

"Which is precisely why our offer of the most appropriate and fruitful solution still stands: shadow our members, talk to the very people your decisions will affect and work with the PRCA to ensure that the lobbying industry is understood in real terms, rather than through the wording of the Act."

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