PR firm cuts Mellor link

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The Independent Online
Shandwick, the world's largest PR consultancy, has ended a two-year relationship with the Conservative MP David Mellor in advance of a series of key Commons votes on Monday on cleaning up standards in public life.

While Wednesday's select committee report rejected the original Nolan recommendation for a ban on multi-client consultancies in favour of a specific ban on advocating clients' causes in Parliament, the agency had already decided at the end of October not to renew its contract with Mr Mellor, the former heritage secretary and MP for Putney.

Colin Trusler, managing director of Shandwick UK, said he wanted to "stand clear" of the debate over links between MPs and multi-client consultancies.

Mr Mellor's entry in the Register of Members' Interests says he does not lobby ministers or speak on behalf of Shandwick clients in the Commons, or table questions on their behalf. He said yesterday: "In the present climate it seemed appropriate that after two happy years this arrangement should come to an end, and it has ended."

The move is the latest sign of the trend of lobbyists cancelling or altering their relationships with MPs.

Labour yesterday stepped up its campaign for relevant earnings to be publicly declared, publishing a list of 125 Tory MPs who act as part-time consultants or advisers in a bid to persuade them to "act in the public interest" by backing a Labour amendment on Monday.

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