Ogilvy's James bemoans consultation

Conservative Party vice-chair Margot James, one of the healthcare comms sector's most influential practitioners in recent years, has slammed the Government over its 'cynical' attitude to public consultation.

At an Electoral Reform Society fringe meeting entitled ‘Treating a Sick Democracy', James claimed it had already been decided to close a palliative care centre within Kensington & Chelsea Primary Care Trust - despite a ‘consultation' planned for January.

‘The Government has a responsibility to have genuine consultations but the public have a responsibility to participate,' said James, who is European president of Ogilvy Healthworld.

Drawing an analogy with clients needing to ‘engage fully with service providers' to achieve the best outcomes in the business world, James said: ‘All citizens have responsibilities as well as rights. One of them is to contribute to our demo­cratic process.

People seem to expect that they can just put a cross on the ballot paper and have decent government.' She added that the public should ‘take more opportunities' to participate in consultation exercises.

James also warned David Cameron's ‘circle of advisers' against emulating Labour's ‘media manipulation and bullying [of] editors'.

On the issue of declining trust in government, shadow constitutional affairs sec­retary Oliver Heald said the Tories were examining whether parliament should acquire new powers.

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