Lobby reform chief faces inquiry into Twitter abuse for campaigners
A civil servant in charge of plans to reform the lobbying industry faces a parliamentrary inquiry after publicly stating that she hoped a campaign group "would die".
The Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, Jon Trickett, called for the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee (PCRC) to take evidence from Eirian Walsh-Atkins, who drew up a Government consultation paper on lobbying reform as part of its inquiry into industry regulation.
Ms Walsh-Atkins, the head of constitutional policy at the Cabinet Office, was suspended on Friday from her role in drawing up the lobbying reform proposals after she posted a Twitter message saying: "I wish [the campaign group] Unlock Democracy would die. I am prepared to help it along."
Last night, the PCRC chairman, Graham Allen, said he wanted to take evidence from Ms Walsh-Atkins as part of its hearings, which start on Thursday.
It was also revealed that while the civil servant met lobbying industry representatives four times before the Government published its consultation paper on the matter, she steadfastly refused to meet campaigners calling for reform.
The Independent has seen a letter from the Political Reform Minister, Mark Harper, to Tamasin Cave, of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency. It suggests that all of the interested parties were treated equally in the run-up to the consultation, despite private monthly meetings taking place between the UK Public Affairs Council (UKPAC), which represents the lobbying industry, and Ms Walsh-Atkins.
The Cabinet Office said: "The official involved has personally apologised without reservation to those concerned. This is now being dealt with through internal procedures."
- 1 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 2 Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 'Swivel-gate': David Cameron goes to war with the press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: This is a senior appointment with huge potent...
£28000 - £31500 per annum + benefits: Randstad Education Newcastle: Permanent ...
£50000 - £58000 per annum + Benefits and Bonus: Progressive Recruitment: SAP F...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...