Dirty lobbying

We do it the other way around in East Devon – we gave a senior officer to a lobbying group viz former EDDC Economic Development Officer Nigel Harrison who was offered up as Secretary to the East Devon Business Forum (a group of local developers under the Chairmanship of disgraced ex-Tory councillor Graham Brown) AND EDDC paid all its expenses!

“Whitehall’s lobbying tsar has launched an inquiry into concerns that informal parliamentary groups set up by MPs and peers are being used to bypass lobbying rules.

Alison White, the registrar of consultant lobbyists, has interviewed officials from all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs) after receiving reports that lobbyists are acting as secretaries to gain access to legislators.

The inquiry comes after a growth in the number of APPGs, which are allowed use of the Palace of Westminster’s catering facilities and can invite senior ministers and civil servants for meetings with donors.

There are more than 550 APPGs, which exist to help MPs and peers discuss major issues of the day, according to the parliamentary register. The groups have received more than £5.4m in external funding since the beginning of 2015. …

…Private firms and individuals can sponsor APPGs to help pay for “secretariat services”, trips abroad or reports. Any APPG is allowed to include a secretariat from an outside body, and it is this position that can be easily abused, according to White.

There are more than 200 people or organisations listed as secretariats for APPGs who are not registered on the register of consultant lobbyists, which requires that meetings with ministers or permanent secretaries be disclosed. White believes some APPG secretariats may be breaking this rule. White is planning to issue advice to all organisations that offer specialist services to APPGs later this month.” …