The latest public affairs PR news, opinion and features.

Keir Starmer – political misstep or a PR masterstroke?

Keir Starmer – political misstep or a PR masterstroke?

Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to resign if he is fined by Durham police for breaking lockdown rules. It’s risky, but from a PR perspective, has he done the right thing?

News & analysis

Max Wilson, Emily Fermor, Sonia Khan

‘Neither party has done enough to convince voters’ – public affairs pros digest local election results

As the Conservatives lose 11 councils across the UK, including previous flagship London boroughs Wandsworth and Westminster, what are the implications of last week’s local election results?

(Photo by Matt Dunham – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

‘It’s barnacles off the boat time’ – how Partygate fines fallout will affect public affairs

'Partygate’ is firmly back in the news after Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were fined this week for breaking lockdown rules. What does the fallout mean for the domestic political agenda and for public affairs professionals?

PR firms in the spotlight over Putin today

Bill Browder, the activist investor and prominent critic of Vladimir Putin, has hinted that he plans to name PR firms that have helped the Russian President, describing it as a ‘huge problem that no one talks about’.

How can public affairs pros bridge the gap between public expectations and government policy?

Public affairs role crucial as ‘big versus small state’ debate hots up

Public affairs pros have a crucial role to play to square off government desire for a smaller state with greater expectations from the public, according to a senior figure at WA Communications.

Houses of Parliament

New lobbying rules for MPs imminent as industry urges strict enforcement

The consultation on a revised Code of Conduct for MPs has ended, with new rules on lobbying expected before the House of Commons after Easter.

Daisy Cooper MP

Public poll names Lib Dems’ Daisy Cooper most influential backbench MP

The Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper has been named the most influential backbench MP following a public vote based on a 20-strong shortlist of politicians compiled by Pagefield.

Lord Kinnock (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Labour in Communications names Lord Kinnock as first chair

Labour in Communications, the networking group for comms professionals who support the political party, has made former Labour leader Lord Neil Kinnock its first chair, alongside other senior appointments to its leadership team.

Credit: Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

Collision of politics, business and ethics intensifies public affairs role in Russia-Ukraine invasion

Organisations must act holistically to navigate the policy, regulatory and reputational aspects of the Russian war in Ukraine as resolution and refugee support take centre stage, urge public affairs professionals.

James Helm

Ex-Met Police comms chief hired by University of Cambridge

Former Met Police director of comms James Helm has been appointed to lead the University of Cambridge’s comms operation.

CIPR demands urgent reform to lobbying legislation

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations has written to the Government calling for urgent changes to lobbying legislation in light of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Opinion & features

Digital campaigning in 2022 - the hyper-local election

Data and digital political campaigning is coming of age but there is still very little understanding of how parties collect and use this data to target traditional canvassing and online advertising.

Tanya Joseph

Breaking the bias in public affairs

Underrepresentation of women in the public affairs sector must be challenged.

(Picture credit: Leon Neal at Getty Images)

‘End of the Boris era’ – what next for Downing Street comms as Doyle resigns?

Downing Street communications director Jack Doyle was among four senior aides to resign yesterday as the Johnson administration moved from crisis to abject disarray.

Sarah Brown; Jeremy Swan; Nick Williams and Leila Ager; Josh Hardie

Biggest public affairs and political comms hires – and senior departures of 2021

PRWeek looks at some of the biggest appointments and departures in public affairs over the past year, from major agency shake-ups to senior hires by some of Britain’s biggest companies.

Where is Boris Johnson's equivalent of Bernard Ingham? asks Julian Henry

Boris Johnson is a sitting duck without a real PR guru in No.10

The absence of a proper ‘spin doctor’ in Downing Street - following the departure of Dominic Cummings a year ago - leaves the Prime Minister vulnerable to attack from all sides.

(L-R) Alison Goldsworthy, Laura Osborne and Alex Chesterfield say that comms can move us towards 'thinking slow'

In a polarised world, comms must be used to counter ‘certainty’ of people's beliefs

The recent bout of panic-buying at the petrol pumps is a reminder of how important good communication is in a crisis.

Tensions between the Treasury and  No. 10 are likely as politics returns closer  to normal, warns Paddy Hennessey

Autumn brings a sense of foreboding for public affairs and political comms people

First it was non-essential shops, then restaurants, bars and sports stadiums, as nature began to heal and venues were able to reopen after the lifting of restrictions, but this autumn - to the excitement of political wonks - it will be the turn of party conferences, at least in part.

A reshuffle is an opportunity for public affairs professionals to shine, argues Marc Woolfson

I love a reshuffle and, as a public affairs professional, so should you

As the dust settles on last week’s reshuffle, I’ve been thinking about how the regular moving around of the ministerial deckchairs impacts those of us with the professional responsibility to help our clients understand and navigate the ever-shifting sands of government relations.

The BBC must work fast to restore its reputation and stave off privatisation

The BBC’s response to the Martin Bashir scandal has been to announce a “Review of Editorial Policies” and an investigation into the re-hiring of Bashir by the Corporation in 2016.

Defining ‘levelling up’ will be the biggest post-COVID-19 comms challenge for No. 10

Whether it's been badged as "rebalancing the economy", or as Theresa May's short-lived "industrial strategy", the concept of 'levelling up' has been at the centre of political and economic thinking for years.