The PRCA issued a complaint on Friday, which centred on what it described as a “conflict of interest” between former Conservative chairman Feldman’s role as an unpaid adviser to the Government earlier this year and his work for the agency.
Feldman acted as an unpaid adviser to health minister Lord Bethell for two months in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) from late March.
In April, during his tenure as an adviser, the Government awarded a £28m contract to testing company Oxford Nanopore.
In June, a month after Feldman had ended his role as an adviser, he went on to provide consultancy services for the testing company on behalf of Tulchan, the PRCA said.
Neither Tulchan nor Lord Feldman are PRCA members or signed up to its Public Affairs Board (PAB) code of practice, which prompted the trade association to submit its complaint to the Lords’ Commissioner for Standards – because it has no powers to investigate.
Responding to the complaint of a conflict of interest, Tulchan said at the weekend that it was a matter of record that Feldman had applied for and been granted “Leave of Absence” from the House of Lords in June, which meant “there cannot have been a conflict of interest between his work at Tulchan and his role in the Lords, as alleged by the PRCA”.
The Lords’ Commissioner for Standards, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, wrote to Feldman today to say that she would not be pursuing an investigation.
A copy of the letter to Lord Feldman, seen by PRWeek, states: “I have carried out a preliminary assessment of the complaint and decided not to investigate it. This is because the complaint provides no evidence that your interests in either role have related to your parliamentary duties.”
A spokesperson for the Lords Commissioner said it could “neither confirm or deny the contents of the correspondence” because it is private.
Tulchan said in a statement said that the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists (ORCL) had also cleared it of “undeclared consultant lobbying”. ORCL's judgement was published on Wednesday morning.
Andrew Grant, senior partner at Tulchan, added: “We have always maintained that we, and Andrew Feldman, behaved entirely properly, and are pleased that this view is shared by the Regulator and The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards. Andrew Feldman worked tirelessly during his time at DHSC and we at Tulchan, and he, are proud of the contribution that he made.”
'Legislators cannot be lobbyists'
Reacting to the decision by the Lords’ Commissioner for Standards, Francis Ingham, director-general of the PRCA, told PRWeek: “It is the PRCA’s long and strongly held view that legislators cannot also be lobbyists. We believe this to be true whether or not Peers have taken a leave of absence.”
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