PR agency The Playbook hires sitting MP

The Playbook has made the unusual move for a PR agency of hiring a sitting MP: Tracey Crouch, former minister for sport, civil society and loneliness.

The Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford joins The Playbook this week as a senior advisor.

Crouch, who launched the UK Government’s Loneliness strategy last year, will advise clients in areas such as building resilience using sport, CSR and the loneliness agenda, The Playbook said.

Although numerous former MPs have taken roles at PR and public affairs agencies, it’s rare for sitting MPs to do so.

Similar moves involving lobbying agencies have proved controversial in the past. In 2014, then-APPC chairman and current Cicero executive chairman Iain Anderson said a reported plan for a lobbying firm to hire an MP "sits very uneasily with the vast majority of us who work in agency lobbying".

The Playbook said Crouch’s position has been approved by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA), which advises on business appointments for former ministers.

The Playbook MD Andrew Biden told PRWeek: "As long as she works for a PR firm that is all fine. It was very thoroughly checked by ACOBA."

Formed in 2016, the Playbook is the sport, consumer and technology comms offshoot of Hanover, the business headed by John Major’s former PR adviser Charles Lewington when he was Prime Minister. Clients include major rightsholders such as The NFL, England & Wales Cricket Board and Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Baiden said: "As an agency we have known Tracey Crouch for some time. Tracey is an inspirational and principled leader in the world of sport and society, and we think she has a lot to offer clients about balancing business imperatives with social responsibility. As an agency we are growing fast and developing a wider offer, and this is where Tracey will play a pivotal role."

Crouch said: "I am delighted to be joining a young and vibrant agency alongside some hugely talented people and look forward to helping develop their client’s CSR opportunities."

Crouch resigned as a minister in November over delays to Government plans to reduce maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals.

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