Poll shows MPs at ease with influence of APGs

The overwhelming majority of MPs believe that All-Party Groups can influence parliamentary opinions and shape legislation, according to figures provided exclusively to PRWeek by Communicate Research. Moreover, most MPs are comfortable with organisations outside of parliament funding APGs.

A Times investigation in January found that six APGs had breached parliamentary rules because PA firms providing groups with admin and financial assistance failed to declare their client.

But despite concerns over their lack of transparency, the survey finds that 73 per cent of MPs either agreed or agreed strongly that APGs ‘can influence opinions and shape legislation'. Not one MP disagreed strongly.

Sixty-four per cent disagreed that ‘organisations outside parliament should not provide financial assistance to APGs'. ‘This reaffirms the view that you are buying influence if you are able to affect the agendas of APGs,' said Communicate CEO Andrew Hawkins.

The survey also found that most MPs were comfortable with APGs, that are funded by organisations outside parliament, using House of Commons facilities.

A sample of 160 MPs were polled last month.

Tory MPs were more sceptical than their Labour and Lib Dem counterparts - 17 per cent of Tories disagreed that APGs can influence parliament, compared with two per cent of Labour MPs and five per cent of Lib Dem MPs.

‘If opinion is swinging away from Labour, the debate about APGs will stay as the Tories are more nervous of the current set-up', said Hawkins.

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