APPC faces questions over sitting peers rule

The Association of Public Policy Consultants was due to meet this week to discuss a potential breach of its code of conduct by GPC Market Access, which recently added Liberal Democrat peer Lord Taverne to its staff. The association forbids its members from employing sitting peers.

The Association of Public Policy Consultants was due to meet this

week to discuss a potential breach of its code of conduct by GPC Market

Access, which recently added Liberal Democrat peer Lord Taverne to its

staff. The association forbids its members from employing sitting

peers.



Lord Taverne joined GPC this month when the lobbying agency of which he

was a director, Prima Europe, was bought by GPC. His new job title has

not yet been established. Prima, unlike GPC, was not a member of the

association.



Preventing financial links between Parliament and professional lobbyists

is the association’s central tenet and is the issue it was set up to

tackle.



The APPC is unlikely to alter its code of conduct. The alternative

options are for Prima to remain a separate entity to its parent company,

for Lord Taverne to resign from the House of Lords or from Prima, or for

the new joint company to leave the association.



Charles Miller, secretary of the APPC, said: ’We may come to a British

compromise, but it’s misleading to speculate. I think people would

interpret changing our code as a backward move but we don’t want to lose

law-abiding members either.’



The APPC has faced similar conundrums before: in 1994 four directors of

Westminster Communications, including Liberal Democrat MP Menzies

Campbell and Labour MP Ann Taylor, resigned from the agency’s board to

comply with association rules.



Leader, p9.



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