The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has reminded public affairs professionals of the rules governing parliamentary passes, after reports in the Guardian suggested former MPs have used passes to conduct public affairs work.
Clause 14 of the Public Affairs Code states:
‘No person required to appear on the Public Affairs Register may hold a pass…except with the explicit written and public permission of the Public Affairs Board Executive Committee, and only then in truly exceptional circumstances.
Commenting on the news, Liam Herbert CMPRCA Public Affairs Board Chair said:
“Lobbying is a democratic right. Access to Parliament must be equal for all those seeking to influence democratic institutions.
“The industry’s rules are clear – it is entirely unethical for public affairs professionals to hold Parliamentary passes without explicit consent from the PRCA Public Affairs Executive.
“Abuse of Parliamentary passes damages trust in our industry. It is simply wrong for a lobbyist to hold a Parliamentary pass -and that most certainly applies to ex MPs. We will be writing to all PRCA public affairs practitioners to remind them of their responsibilities on this issue. More importantly, we urge the Parliamentary authorities urgently to review their rules, and to remove Parliamentary passes from ex MPs who are now lobbyists. Parliament is not a lifelong membership club -it is the body which makes the law of our country.”