PRWeek poll reveals public blames lobbying scandals on politicians
As the leading lights of the lobbying industry enter their responses to the Government's consultation on a statutory lobbying register, a PRWeek poll has revealed that the general public feels much of the blame for the industry's bad press lies at the feet of politicians rather than lobbyists.
Detached: The Prime Minister has said lobbyists do not influence Government
A PRWeek/OnePoll report revealed that 50 per cent said the fault for lobbying scandals mainly lay with politicians.
While the majority (58 per cent) believed lobbyists should be overseen by an external regulator, 43 per cent also said that everyone had the right to lobby. Only 15 per cent believed the Prime Minister's statement that lobbying companies did not have any influence on Government.
This line has been echoed by Insight Public Affairs, whose official response to the government consultation noted that 'recent high-profile scandals have pointed the finger at the public affairs industry, despite the fact that lobbyists have often not been involved'.
Insight pointed to recent events such as The Sunday Times' investigation into Peter Cruddas, which was 'about party fundraisers'.
Elsewhere, the overriding theme within consultation responses is that the public affairs industry is dissatisfied with the boundaries of the proposals. The CIPR has stated that the Government's plans were 'inadequate and unlikely to stand the test of time', adding that a statutory register of lobbyists should be universal or else it will fail to meet the Government's own objectives.
The PRCA seconded this call, stating that it has rejected the Government's definition of a lobbyist, instead calling for anyone involved in 'the act of lobbying' to be included – including trade unions, think-tanks and charities.
The APPC is also understood to be focusing on a call for universality in its own response, not yet received by PRWeek.
But the TaxPayers' Alliance has called for a register that only includes those lobbying for third parties in its response.
Also read: Lobbying under scrutiny
This article was first published on prweek.com
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