From our readers - Lobbying crackdown is disproportionate

This week's report by the Public Administration Select Committee calling for further regulation of the UK's lobbying industry is a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

The recommendation for all agencies to publish their client list is to be welcomed. But the principal weakness of the report is the proposal - under compulsory regulation - to report all comms between the policymaker and the lobbyist. There remains an inherent difficulty in defining a lobbyist - a fact that risks undermining the committee's objectives.

If we include every group or individual and require them to register every meeting with an MP or civil servant, it will at best be burdensome and at worst a mechanism for disenfranchisement for those least able to meet exacting standards. Besides, some of this information is available anyway via Freedom of Information requests.

The public affairs industry needs to uphold exceptional ethics - but discouraging political engagement is not the way to do it. The APPC is moving to a more robust adjudication process, and needs to go further by naming and shaming companies who breach its code of conduct. That is the best way forward - not top-down regulation.

James Tyrrell, associate director, Insight Public Affairs

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