PR proves fast track to Parliament

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 Party.

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

Party.



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

clients.



However, plans to hold a reception for new MPs were shelved, for fear of

exacerbating the ’sleaze ’debate.



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