MP rails at lobby tactics

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The Independent Online
An "infestation" of former Labour Party members who are being hired by companies to lobby the Government was attacked yesterday by a Labour MP.

Since the election, a number of high-flying former Labour researchers have found that they have become hot property as public relations companies seek their services to make contacts with the new government.

Ian Hepplewhite, the press officer for the Parliamentary Labour Party, is about to join Westminster Communications. Neil Lawson, Ben Lucas, and John Mendelson who worked in Tony Blair's office in opposition, recently left Lowe Bell to form their own company. Nicholas Williams, former adviser to David Clark, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has joined Lowe Bell.

Paul Flynn, the MP for Newport West, yesterday protested that former close advisers to ministers were being recruited "on a very big scale" by lobbyists. He used a Commons motion to protest at the "depressing new influx ... of lobbyists convinced that alcohol is essential for persuading researchers to influence MPs to do their bidding of the rich commercial organisations."