Joy Johnson, the former director of campaigns, elections and media for
the Labour Party, has joined lobbying firm APCO UK as a part-time
The one-time BBC political news editor, however, stressed her role was
not that of lobbyist but an ‘adviser on communications and campaigns
strategy in terms of grass roots mobilisation’.
Johnson said she believed that APCO had wanted her for her journalistic
experience rather than her knowledge of the Labour Party. ‘One of the
things APCO recognises is the importance of local and regional media,’
she told PR Week.
A television news veteran of 16 years, Johnson joined Labour in February
1995 from the BBC where she was Westminster news editor.
Although well-regarded by many on the left, her contempt for ‘spin
doctoring’ caused a rift with Labour’s communications supremo Peter
She resigned in January since when she has been working freelance,
including a project on devolution for Scottish Television. A return to
political journalism with the BBC or another broadcaster has been ruled
out until after the General Election as she is now seen as pre-disposed
towards one party.
Founded in April 1995, APCO UK is the UK arm of one of Washington DC’s
largest lobbying firms APCO Associates, with a client list which
includes the London Stock Exchange, Federal Express, Philip Morris and
The firm has made much of its international credentials and integrated
approach to public affairs. Johnson said she was attracted to APCO
because it was different from other lobbyists with a style she described
as ‘community lobbying’. She stressed, however, that there were some
clients she would not work with. ‘There are certain things I won’t do
and they know that,’ she said.
Asked if she had talked to other lobbying firms, Johnson said: ‘Not in
any great detail. I didn’t think ‘oh great now I can go off and be a
lobbyist’. But they asked me and the way the company operates means they
value media strategy.’