Mayor cracks down on anti-code agencies

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has pledged to stop using public affairs agencies that refuse to adhere to industry-wide ethical codes.

Livingstone: sent letter to John Grogan MP
Livingstone: sent letter to John Grogan MP

PRWeek has obtained a letter in which the Mayor refers specifically to Bell Pottinger Public Affairs – which has continued to snub the industry’s code of conduct.

The Mayor’s letter was sent to Labour MP John Grogan, who is calling for increased transparency in the lobbying industry.

It states: ‘Bell Pottinger’s contract with the Greater London Authority [GLA] has come to an end… In future, when such contracts are let by the GLA I will ensure that adherence to the ethical rules of the industry is a criteria for appointment.’

Grogan confirmed that he had received the Mayor’s letter earlier this month and said he was ‘delighted’ by it. The MP is now urging Olympics chief Lord Coe to adopt the same stance.

Grogan’s office said he was still waiting to hear from Coe. Bell Pottinger supremo Lord Bell dismissed the MP’s attempts to get all agencies signed up to codes.

He said his agencies were unable to sign up to public affairs watchdog APPC or PRCA codes dues to ‘confidentiality clauses in some of our client contracts with governments and public bodies –normally because of national or personal security issues’.

Bell added: ‘All our public affairs staff are members of the CIPR. We are completely transparent in our dealings, which is more than can be said of the people stirring up this gossip.’

The Commons Public Administration Committee is planning the first detailed parliamentary examination of lobbying since 1991.

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