APPC Statement on Lobbying Transparency, etc, Bill

The Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) today responded to the publication of the Government’s ‘Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill’ which will introduce a limited statutory register of ‘consultant lobbyists’.

Deputy Chair of the APPC Iain Anderson, said:

“The Government’s plans are likely to result in less transparency with fewer organisations and individuals actually having to register than under the current self-regulatory regime the lobbying industry operates. We would welcome a statutory register but only one which means all professional lobbyists are included.

Recent research we undertook found that DBIS ministers in 2012 had 988 meetings with lobbyists – just two were with consultant lobbyists. In other words the new bill will not capture the 99% of lobbyists who meet regularly with ministers – hardly fulfilling the Government’s goal of increasing lobbying transparency.

This bill is against the advice of the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee and transparency campaigners. We welcome the call from the Rt Hon Graham Allen MP requesting further pre-legislative scrutiny in order to prevent the delivery of a register of lobbyists that is doomed to fail against the stated aims that the Government put forward in their original proposal.

We’re keen to work with the Government to make this legislation effective and workable because, in its current state, it is a bad bill which actually undermines the goal of increased lobbying transparency.”