THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Should there be a common code of conduct for lobbyists?

Lib Dem Peer Lord McNally has call ed for a joint, independently policed code

Lib Dem Peer Lord McNally has call ed for a joint, independently

policed code

Adele Biss

AS Biss

’A common code would do no harm but is unlikely to make a big difference

to behaviour. The more important issue is to have better policing,

monitoring and training so that lobbyists discharge their obligations of

probity in all their dealings with Whitehall and Westminster. As recent

events have shown, fear of retribution - especially from the media - may

be the best deterrent to abuse of the system.’

Charles Miller

Association of Professional Political Consultants

’The PRCA and the APPC have almost identical codes, so we are well on

the way; but all bodies involved, including the IPR, have supported the

need for formal regulation by Parliament. Without this the problem will

persist. With the introduction of formal regulation, registered

companies would have to fulfil certain requirements and would have to

answer to Parliament.’

Colin Byrne


’We have always called for stronger and more independent regulation,

that is seen to be affective. We would sign up if a common code of

conduct was introduced. We see no problem in the IPR, PRCA and APPC

coming together and protecting the reputation of a legal business

Unless they come together on behalf of the industry it could face

draconian measures which could limit our licence to operate.’

Edward Bickham

Hill and Knowlton

’Yes. It would have a positive effect on the reputation and legitimacy

of business. It would make the lobbying profession more transparent and

seen as properly regulated. But the industry should not be influenced by

the media clamour, into unnecessarily heavy handed regulation. The

Observer’s biggest revelation to date - lobbyists promising and bragging

- is not covered by any of the codes, but I’m sceptical about the

benefits of statutory regulation.’

Mike Lee

Westminster Strategy

’We need to go much further than a common code of conduct, to ensure the

industry is not only clean, but seen to be clean. We need a register and

statutory code, overseen by Parliament itself and which is constructed

by dialogue, between business and Parliament. The time for such action

has definitely come.’

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