Parliament needs PR on lobbying 'scandal'

The Times' report on All-Party Groups (PRWeek, 20 January) poses serious questions not just for lobbyists, but for Parliament itself. If a number of APGs are not declaring financial support, then it is right that an immediate inquiry should be launched into why this system is apparently failing.

In the longer term, Parliament needs to take action to improve its own reputation. Providing dedicated support for APGs would be one small, but perhaps now necessary, part of this process. But as we argued in our evidence to the Puttnam Commission, it is time that Parliament took the issue of reputation seriously.

The parliamentary authorities must radically improve the way they communicate their work and defend their reputation. The era of the 'gifted amateur' is over - they now need professional PR advice.

Francis Ingham, head of public affairs, CIPR.

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