IPR call for clarity on Commons lobbyist passes

A register of professional lobbyists policed by Parliament would provide the transparency needed to prevent the abuse of privileges given to some lobbyists, IPR president Simon Lewis said this week.

A register of professional lobbyists policed by Parliament would

provide the transparency needed to prevent the abuse of privileges given

to some lobbyists, IPR president Simon Lewis said this week.



He was responding to reports that MPs are giving passes to consultants

representing lobbying firms, allowing them privileged access to the

House of Commons and its facilities. Lewis said there is nothing

inherently wrong with lobbyists holding passes as long as it is clear

who they represent.



Among those issued with passes are a consultant and a researcher at

lobbying firm Westminster Advisers and two people employed by the

Electricity Association.



Lewis said: ’It’s not so much who’s got the card but what the

relationship is. The difficulty is when a pass is made available and it

is not clear who that person is working for.’



The IPR believes that professional lobbyists should be listed in a

public register, policed by the Houses of Parliament, and issued with

some form of identification. This could then be cross checked with the

list of pass holders to the Commons.



The Association of Professional Political Consultants, formed in 1994,

publishes a register of its members and prohibits their staff from

holding passes to the Houses of Parliament. However many large firms,

such as Lowe Bell Political, are not members.



Leader, p9.



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