Cameron under pressure to crack down on lobbyists

Police consider opening fraud inquiry into Fox's 'adviser' Werritty. Andy McSmith reports

David Cameron faces growing pressure to introduce a law that requires political lobbyists to reveal who they are and whose interests they are promoting, as the City of London Police yesterday confirmed it was considering whether to open a fraud investigation into Adam Werritty, a friend of the former defence secretary Liam Fox.

Mr Werritty is suspected of being a covert lobbyist and the Labour MP John Mann has asked whether he fraudulently posed as a government adviser while promoting commercial interests.

Before Mr Cameron became Prime Minister, he warned that "secret corporate lobbying" could be the next major political scandal, after MPs' expenses, but since entering Downing Street he has not shown any sign of putting his words into action, although the idea of compelling lobbyists to register has support from the main political parties and from many major lobbying firms who abide by industry-imposed rules.

The lobbying industry agreed to regulate itself after a series of scandals in the 1990s, including the "cash-for-questions" affair, when it was revealed that MPs were being paid to ask parliamentary questions for commercial interests. Under its rules, lobbying must be transparent and using the privileged access that comes from holding a Commons security pass for commercial lobbying is forbidden.

A report by the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, published tomorrow, is expected to reveal of whether Adam Werritty was involved in commercial lobbying during any the 18 foreign trips he undertook with the Defence Secretary or his 22 meetings at the Ministry of Defence. Had there been a statutory register of lobbyists in place, it would have been illegal for Mr Werritty to carry out such activity without declaring it. But it is unlikely that he would have been bound by the industry's rules, as he is not a registered lobbyist or a member of a professional lobbyists' body.

Yesterday, Labour made a statutory register official party policy. The Shadow Cabinet Office minister Gareth Thomas said: "David Cameron has still not introduced the compulsory register of lobbyists he promised. In the wake of the Adam Werritty... activities it is essential we have greater transparency.

"The Government should bring forward, as a matter of urgency, plans for a compulsory register of lobbyists."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor