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UK Politics

Government ready for lobbyists verdict

The Government is to publish long-awaited plans to reform Britain's lobbying industry next week, The Independent has learnt.

Mark Harper, the minister in charge of political reform, is expected to release a consultation paper on Thursday or Friday including options for a new mandatory lobbying register.

However critics fear the proposals have been watered down in the face of intense pressure from the industry. The consultation paper – originally due to be published last November – has already been pushed back several times. Mr Harper is known to have met lobbyists lobbying for the lobbying industry, but has declined to reveal details of those meetings.

However Downing Street insisted that the delays were not due to pressure from the industry but over complications about how to define a lobbyist.

Tamasin Cave, from the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, said: "The devil will be in the detail. We need a register to reveal who is lobbying whom, what they are lobbying about, and how much is being spent trying to influence our politicians. And it needs to be overseen by a body independent of the industry."