This expenditure is a waste of taxpayers' money in itself. But it also distorts our political system, creating a bias within government in favour of ever more state regulation, intervention and spending. It is 'public choice' theory in action - state bureaucracies spending money to justify their own existence.
A Conservative government will follow the US example, introducing rules to stop central public sector bodies hiring lobbyists to bid for more funds or legislative favours. This is a small but necessary step towards restoring trust in politics and ending the culture of spin within Whitehall.
Nick Hurd MP, shadow minister for the Cabinet Office.