In response to a front-page story in the Financial Times concerning former Prime Minister David Cameron lobbying the UK government on behalf of a firm he was advising, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has repeated its call for changes in legislation to ensure that all attempts to influence political decisions by lobbyists, in whatever capacity, are captured.
Current legislation governing lobbying in Westminster only requires consultant lobbying to be registered, leaving those on an organisation’s payroll outside the scope of full public scrutiny. This is something the Institute has long criticised and it has previously written to all MPs to set out the standards of acceptable behaviour for professional lobbyists.
Under the legislation passed by the Cameron government, it is too difficult for the public to ever find out about lobbying activity such as this. What has come to light, in this case, serves to highlight how inadequate that legislation is.
It was David Cameron himself who, as Prime Minister, steered the Lobbying Act through parliament on the promise that it would improve public trust in lobbying; now he has taken on a lobbying role that falls outside the scope of the Act he devised. A public register of lobbyists must truly reflect all lobbying activity in a consistent, not selective, way.
Rachael Clamp Chart.PR, MCIPR, Chair of CIPR Public Affairs