HARD COMMERCIAL EDGE OF PR 1996: CONFERENCE REPORT; Labour signals a tough time for lobbying firms

Lobbying firms face a tougher time gaining access to ministers and departmental officials under a Labour Government.

Lobbying firms face a tougher time gaining access to ministers and

departmental officials under a Labour Government.



The prediction from Lord McNally, director of public affairs at

Shandwick Consultants, comes despite his view that the next Parliament

will also contain ‘a record number of former lobbyists’.



McNally claimed any new Labour Government is ‘likely to try to portray

sleaze, and with it lobbying, as a manifestation of the old Tory

regime’.



‘Some new ministers may ban departmental contact with lobbying firms or

refuse contact themselves,’ he said. ‘BecauseLabour MPs think such

restrictions hurt the Tories more, further limits may be put on external

activities or new demands made for greater transparency concerning

outside earnings. We may be in for a period of pettiness and ‘holier

than thou’ attitudes to lobbying.’



Mc Nally urged the lobbying sector to re-inforce its legitimacy by

establishing a full register of lobbying firms and lobbyists working in

Whitehall and Westminster, including those working for foreign

governments and organisations.



A critic of the impact of the Nolan report on MPs’ outside interests,

McNally also claimed the lobbying industry ‘could do a great deal for

its own respect if it could unite its representation with a single

professional body, preferably a Chartered Institute of Public

Relations’.



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