MPs call for 'enforceable' lobbying code of ethics

Five MPs have signed a parliamentary motion calling for tougher regulation of the lobbying industry.

Bottomley: signed motion
Bottomley: signed motion

The early day motion (EDM), tabled by Labour MP and former environment minister Michael Meacher, demands an 'enforceable code of ethics'. As PRWeek went to press, the EDM had been signed by five MPs, including Tory Peter Bottomley and Liberal Democrat Norman Baker.

The MPs behind the EDM hope to send a message to MPs on the Commons Public Administration Select Committee, which last week conducted the final evidence session in its inquiry into lobbying. The committee is now considering what measures to recommend in its official report, to be published later this year.

Meacher's EDM states: 'That this House notes the strong public cynicism about the influence of corporate lobbyists on British politics; that individuals and organisations which engage in lobbying activities are able to do so effectively hidden from public scrutiny.'

It calls for 'a mandatory register of individuals and organisations that are involved in lobbying MPs and the civil service, and the introduction of an enforceable code of ethics for lobbying activities to ensure transparency of lobbying activities'.

Separately, Labour backbencher Austin Mitchell has tabled an EDM urging the select committee to 'reject... (the) assertion that public sector contracts should go only to APPC member companies'. Mitchell argues that favouring APPC members would 'create an unregulated and unaccountable' APPC monopoly, a view previously aired by Tory MP Peter Luff (PRWeek, 1 June 2007).

Last year, an EDM tabled by Labour backbencher John Grogan (PRWeek, 16 May 2007), applauded the decision of Thames Gateway London Partnership 'to insist that agencies bidding for their public affairs contract must adhere to the ethical codes of the APPC'.

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