Crosby's firm CTF Partners 'investigated' for unregistered lobbying

Sir Lynton Crosby's firm CTF Partners is under investigation over allegations its staff worked on Boris Johnson's campaign for PM without registering with the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists.

Boris Johnson leaves his home alongside Mimi Randolph, an employee of CTF Partners, in 2018 (©Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson leaves his home alongside Mimi Randolph, an employee of CTF Partners, in 2018 (©Leon Neal/Getty Images)

A Guardian investigation has revealed authorities are looking into whether the firm’s work with paying clients overlapped its work with senior Conservatives, including Johnson. 

CTF Partners said its staff had volunteered to work on Johnson’s campaign to become Prime Minister by winning an election within the Conservative Party, the Guardian report says.

The Guardian reports CTF staff worked closely with Conservative MPs – including current ministers – to undermine Theresa May’s Brexit deal. The firm’s founding partner Mark Fullbrook, David Canzini and other senior employees also took leave to run Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign.

In the UK, companies or individuals that lobby ministers and government officials – either verbally or in writing – must list their client and name in the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists (ORCL) public register.

Concerns have been raised that CTF Partners has been operating as an unregistered lobbyist and the ORCL is seeking more information on CTF’s steps to ensure it isn’t "intentionally or inadvertently they may be doing consultant lobbying activity".

CTF Partners has denied it is operating illegally and stressed its employees' work with Johnson was voluntary. 

The firm said that as Johnson was a backbencher during the leadership campaign, work on his campaign does not fall under the Lobbying Act.

Earlier this year, a Guardian investigation revealed CTF Partners had secretly used Facebook as a tool to spread false information that benefitted clients – tactics that were condemned by the PRCA and CIPR. CTF Partners is not a member of either body and not bound by their professional codes of conduct.

These tactics, known as astroturfing, have also been used by arena operators in Manchester and London.

The PRCA recently cleared Fleishman of any wrongdoing on behalf of its client SMG Europe in Manchester.

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