16 December 2009
PASC CALLS FOR FASTER MOVEMENT ON LOBBYING REFORM
The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) today publishes a follow-up report on lobbying. The report concludes that there have been some welcome, but tentative, moves in the direction of lobbying transparency and self-regulation as a result of PASC's January 2009 report, Lobbying: Access and Influence in Whitehall. However, the Committee concludes that overall progress has been slow. It is particularly concerned that not enough has yet been done to bring about effective self-regulation of the lobbying industry, keeping open the possibility that lobbying will have to be regulated by legislation instead.
In particular, the Committee:
welcomes the routine publication of details of ministerial meetings with outside interest groups;
is disappointed that there has not been more progress on industry self-regulation;
calls for more clarity from the Government on how it will review the industry's progress on self-regulation; and
reiterates its call for a statutory register of lobbying activity.
The Chairman of the Committee, Dr Tony Wright MP, said:
"We are encouraged that our original report on lobbying has led to some movement in the direction of lobbying transparency. However, there is much more that should be done if public concern about this issue is to be addressed. I think we will ultimately end up with a statutory register of lobbying activity and I urge the Government to look again at this. We also need clarity from the Government about how it will assess the lobbying industry's moves towards self-regulation. If the industry wants to avoid external regulation it will need to put in place robust measures for effective self-regulation ahead of the General Election."
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Committee Membership: Tony Wright (Chairman) (Lab) (Cannock Chase), Mr David Burrowes (Con) (Enfield, Southgate), Paul Flynn (Lab) (Newport West), David Heyes (Lab) (Ashton under Lyne), Kelvin Hopkins (Lab) (Luton North), Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con) (Bridgewater), Julie Morgan (Lab) (Cardiff North), Mr Gordon Prentice (Lab) (Pendle), Paul Rowen (Lib Dem) (Rochdale), Charles Walker (Con) (Broxbourne), Jenny Willott (Lib Dem) (Cardiff Central)
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