DIARY: The lobby-free lobbyists who do no lobbying

When news arrived that six senior public affairs practitioners had been appointed directors of the Westminster Forum, it was easily categorised as a lobbying front.

Not so, said the group's launch literature, describing it as 'an independent not-for-profit corporate membership organisation providing a unique interface between business, government and politics. We are not lobbyists,' it blustered.

But it adds: 'We provide the vital opportunity to get your company's message across to those in power', a reference to the corporate-sponsored get-togethers organised for companies and the political elite.

Collins Dictionary, however, defines the word 'lobby' as meaning: 'Seek to influence members of the legislature, solicit support of influential persons.'

Public affairs consultancy DLA Upstream's director Kevin Craig, McGrigor Donald director of public policy Adam Bruce, BT public affairs chief Giles Deards and Merrill Lynch's head of public affairs Miles Webber must be cursing the wasted £1,175 entry pass to this lobbying-free zone.

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