Lobbyists booming under Labour

MINISTERS WILL come under fresh pressure today to publish details of their meetings with lobbyists as figures reveal a boom in lobbying under Labour.

Client lists of big lobbying companies show that the number of organisations using their services has leapt by a third since 1996. In the same period, the larger lobbying companies' staff numbers have risen by more than a quarter and turnover has increased by about a fifth. The boom will reopen the row over close links between Government ministers and certain lobbying companies. Dozens of former Labour Party staff have been employed by the lobbying industry since the last general election, and insiders admit that many are valued for their address books rather than their knowledge or experience.

Newspaper revelations last year of how some lobbyists had bragged of having easy access to ministers caused a furore in Westminster. Today the Conservatives will table a new House of Commons motion demanding more openness over lobbying.

John Redwood, the Conservative trade and industry spokesman, said that traditional British industries had suffered under Labour, while paid political advocates made more money than ever. "There is a massive expansion going on. As industry collapses, spin doctoring flourishes. This shows the unhealthy growth of the lobbyist culture under Tony Blair and his cronies," Mr Redwood said.

A register maintained by the Association of Professional Political Consultants, the lobbyists' professional body, shows that the volume of business has continued to increase.

In the second half of 1996 the association's 12 member companies had 468 clients on their books, including major corporations, charities and government bodies.

In the second half of 1998, after some takeovers and mergers, the same 12 companies had 633 clients - a 35 per cent increase.

Turnover among 10 lobbying firms that have filed recent accounts at Companies House rose by one-fifth from an average of pounds 1.9m in 1996 to pounds 2.3m in 1997. A comparison of the firms' staff numbers over the same period shows a rise of almost 27 per cent, from 183 to 232.

Among those who have left Labour since the general election is Cathy McGlynn, a former adviser to Jack Cunningham who now works for Bell Pottinger, the firm that represents the biotechnology company Monsanto.

Others include Jo Moore, a former senior media spokeswoman for Labour who now works for Westminster Strategy, and Karl Milner, a former researcher for Gordon Brown who now works for GJW.

Sources in the industry said the sector had grown rapidly since the election, but added that this was to be expected in a post-election period when a great deal of political change was afoot.

Charles Miller, the secretary of the association, said that demand for lobbying had been growing for a number of years, and an increase in turnover of 10 or 15 per cent per year would not be surprising.

However, Mr Miller added, lobbyists had not been given a particularly warm welcome by New Labour. Many felt that lobbyists were unnecessary and were a waste of their clients' money, he said, while a few believed they were "scum".

"There are very few backbenchers who believe that and even fewer ministers. But there are misconceptions about the work we do," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'