Public Health: Soap Box - James Tyrrell, director, Insight Public Affairs

It would be easy to assume that regulation of the public affairs industry will fall off the radar after the general election.

Two proponents of statutory regulation- Tony Wright and John Grogan - are standing down in May, and the new administration will want to be seen slashing the deficit.

While the next government is unlikely to prioritise lobbying regulation per se, Nick Hurd is likely to address the cost of lobbying to the public purse. However, new MPs are likely to be better informed than before about the importance of effective and transparent relations between Westminster and pressure groups. As outlined in volume two of Insight's PPC Guide, published this week, many soon-to-be elected MPs have enjoyed careers in the communications and lobbying industries. So, the next 12 months present a window of opport-unity. The newly created Public Affairs Council must make it clear to the Govern-ment that we have not rested on our laurels. A scandal involving either an APPC firm or outlier could panic the Tories - and put pressure on them to be seen to be getting tough.

The APPC needs to promote the positive attributes of our industry more effectively, making sure Parliament knows what we are doing to manage non-compliant agencies.

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