LETTER: Transparent lobbying will benefit everyone

So far, the inquiry into lobbying (prweek.com, 13 May) has heard evidence about the weak system of self-regulation for lobbyists, alleged strategies by lobbying firms to skirt around existing codes of conduct, and examples of unethical behaviour by lobbyists.

We have also heard familiar arguments against the introduction of rules to increase transparency and ethical standards.

Thursday's evidence session (due to take place as PRWeek went to press), however, promises a debate on the real issues, with questions to Tesco, BAA and AstraZeneca over how they lobby decision-makers to gain commercial advantage.

Lobbying is a legitimate and healthy part of a democracy. However, with such a huge disparity between large corporations and local communities in terms of resources and access to decision-makers, it is imperative that lobbying is exposed to greater public scrutiny.

The public and politicians have most to gain from transparency, in terms of restored trust in government decision-making. But with ethical lobbying now moving up the corporate responsibility agenda, greater transparency would also benefit corporate clients.

The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, a coalition of civil society groups and unions, would welcome lobbyists to join us and support our aims.

David Miller, Alliance for Lobbying Transparency

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