Shadow housing minister Grant Shapps fired off a letter after PRWeek reported that Quintus had landed a brief to shift Tory opposition to HIPs (PRWeek, 26 June).
Shapps’ letter was published last week. It stated: ‘There is a lesson here for the public affairs industry: last-minute attempts to change the manifesto and expect a U-turn on a party’s established and consistent policies are unlikely to succeed.’
Speaking this week, Weber Shandwick public affairs chairman Jon McLeod appeared sympathetic. He said: ‘This is a no-nonsense signal from the Tories that lobbyists should not presume to take them on over the relatively small number of issues on which they have clearly nailed their colours to the mast.’
Former CIPR president and independent lobbying consultant Lionel Zetter said: ‘As the general election gets nearer the Tories will come out with further similar statements…. They want to avoid companies wasting money on projects that will not progress.’
But Edelman vice-president Michael Burrell was hopeful the Tories would still be open to lobbying on issues such as Home Information Packs. Burrell said: ‘No doubt [Shapps] and his colleagues will listen carefully to all of those with an informed view on this subject.’