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
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.