Having worked in the lobbying industry in the past I followed the whole debate about what to do with the UKs lobbying industry with interest. Should they have a compulsory register? Should they be forced to publish every client and every person they meet?
Isn’t it interesting that the focus has never turned to our elected or indeed non-elected representatives.
Those terrible lobbyists! If they don’t tell you who their clients are they could be representing someÂ awful peopleÂ – someone like, say, Robert Mugabe!
Isn’t it interesting that in the light of allegations about the possibility that certain members of the House of Lords MAY have accepted money in return for trying to change legislation, suddenly the focus has turned (and quite rightly so) onto those members of the legislature.
In my view, this is where the focus should always have been. It’s no good saying that these lobbyist are awful and need to be regulated, as in every single case no one is ever forced to meet with lobbyists. If a lobbying company is meeting someone who is seen as unreputable then it is down to the MP, the Lord, The Minister or indeed the Civil Servant to say NO, I don’t want to meet you. If lobbyists have been getting away with representing unsavoury clients, the question that really should have been asked is not why are they being represented, as thats the role the lobbyist is paid to do. The question is why haven’t elected represnetatives or officials not turned down meetings if the clients being represented are so unsavoury?
Without lobbyists we would have some awful pieces of legislation that doesn’t take into acccount any of the unitended consequences that become apparent long after the legislation has been drafted.
I suspect there may be a few people with wry smiles on their faceÂ after having seen the industry kicked about during hearings of the Public Administration committee, it nowappears it could be Memebers of the Upper House who have brought the system into disrepute.
Self regulation was seen as a no no for the lobbying industry. Will the same rule apply here?