A report in the Guardian – ‘Osborne, Hancock and other ministers did not declare secret Uber meetings’ – reveal leaked documents that expose the “easily exploitable” lobbying rules in the UK, according to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).
The article shows that meetings with ministers held between 2014 and 2016 were not declared, despite the presence of consultant lobbyists at some of the meetings. The Transparency of Lobbying, non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act (2014) legislates that oral, written or electronic communications sent personally to a Minister or Permanent Secretary conducted by consultant lobbyists is registerable.
The CIPR has long taken the view that the legislation is not fit for purpose and that the register should be expanded to capture all lobbying activity regardless of who is undertaking it.
The Uber file leaks are another example in a long line of high-profile cases demonstrating exactly why the CIPR has been calling for a significant overhaul of the UK’s lobbying legislation. The rules as they are, are not fit for purpose, allow for little if any transparency, and do nothing to address the crisis in public trust in our politics.
This is not an isolated incident but exposes systemic failures in our governance procedures, a system that is easily exploitable, and one in which no party understands their requirements to be transparent or seemingly why it matters. Whoever the next Prime Minister is must address this.
Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive