As the Conservative Party frets over Nolan, one group congratulating
itself on its foresight is the lobbying industry’s own trade body, the
Association of Professional Political Consultants.
Formed in May, the APPC captured the moral high ground by banning
financial links with MPs and setting up its own register of lobbyists.
Marvellous idea. Only thing is, how the hell does anyone get to see it?
Observer Films tried during the making of a Channel 4 Dispatches
programme on peers and their outside interests and was told it was not
open to the public.
APPC secretary Charles Miller confirms that access is indeed restricted
to MPs, Peers, APPC members and their clients, its purpose is self-
regulation, he says, ‘it does not exist to feed salacious stories in the
Others beg to differ. One of the APPC’s founders, Michael Burrell, MD of
Westminster Strategy, says: ‘We were trying to promote greater
transparency and disclosure. My view is the register should be made
available to journalists.’
‘If other members feel like Michael, I dare say we will open it up,’
says Miller, though he warns: ‘we are going to have think very carefully
about way the clients are listed at present - it’s too easily