At least 16 new MPs are from PR and lobbying backgrounds, according
to research by the Rowland Company. Nine of them are in the Labour
The agency’s lobbying arm Rowland Sallingbury Casey was home to three
new MPs including Labour’s Lorna Fitzsimons, MP for Rochdale and Stephen
Twigg, MP for Enfield. Former chairman, John Maples, won Stratford upon
Avon for the Tories.
Other Labour MPs with a PR or lobbying background include Rosie
Winterton, former managing director of Connect (now GPC Connect), MP for
Doncaster Central; John Healey, MP for Wentworth, a former director of
communications for the TUC and GMB director of communications Phil
Woolas, who won Oldham East. On the Tory side John Bercow, MP for
Buckingham and James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire, are both former
employees of Westminster Strategy.
Ironically new MPs have been advised to steer clear of lobbyists in a
guide produced by Labour MP Paul Flynn. Meanwhile the Association of
Professional Political Consultants plans to write to all MPs setting out
its code of conduct and explaining the procedure for complaint.
The measure is one of several approved at an APPC meeting this week
including a Web site and guide to hiring a lobbyist for potential
However, plans to hold a reception for new MPs were shelved, for fear of
exacerbating the ’sleaze ’debate.