Bill against lobbying deals ‘must be tougher’, anti-sleaze watchdog warns

 

A tougher crackdown on lobbying than that planned by the Government is needed to help restore public trust in politics, the anti-sleaze watchdog will warn in a report published today.

The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life expresses concern that the Coalition’s proposed register of third-party lobbyists will not allay people’s fears about “the confluence of money, influence, power and vested interests”.

Its criticism will increase pressure on ministers to beef up the Lobbying Bill during its passage through the Lords, which resumes today. Critics claim only one per cent of lobbyists would be covered by the register.

The anti-sleaze committee calls for:

* Restrictions on former MPs working as lobbyists for two years after leaving Parliament;

* Compulsory “ethics training” for new MPs and peers;

* Tougher rules to prevent a conflict of interest when officials move jobs between government and business, or are on secondment;

* Swift disclosure of the subject of meetings between ministers and outside groups or companies;

* Clearer rules on ex-ministers taking jobs in the private sector;

* Special advisers to ministers to be subject to tighter rules about their contacts with outsiders;

* Gifts and hospitality offered to public servants by lobbyists to be rejected;

* MPs receiving outside payments to be banned from initiating parliamentary proceedings or approaching ministers in the interests of those paying them;

* MPs to disclose family members involved in public-sector lobbying.

Lord (Paul) Bew, the crossbench peer who chairs the committee, called for a “change of culture” in public life.

The committee warns: “Recent individual examples of abuse (real or perceived) have contributed to a growing public cynicism which has led to a lack of trust and confidence in political decision making. Whilst this committee generally welcomes proposals that third-party lobbyists should be obliged to register and disclose the names of the clients on behalf of whom they act, we doubt that a register of third-party lobbyists is the key to reform.”

It warns that “the revolving door” in which people switch from the public to private sector, and secondments between them, raises the risk of potential conflicts of interest.

“Hiring people either permanently or temporarily with contacts or knowledge gained from their time in government or the public sector can be seen as an attempt to buy access and influence,” it says.

There were more than 200 secondments to the Treasury between 2007 and 2011, largely from major accountancy firms, provoking claims that they helped clients to exploit tax loopholes. More than 50 people were seconded to the Department for Energy and Climate Change between 2008 and 2011, including some from energy firms.

Several former MPs have gone on to work for lobbyists, and the committee says: “It is important for public confidence in Parliament to ensure that, during their time in the House, members are not perceived to be influenced in their behaviour by the hope or expectation of future personal gain.”

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Life and Style
The spring/summer 2015 Louis Vuitton show for Paris Fashion Week
fashion
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

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?