General election: Boris Johnson hires fracking lobbyist to help draft Tory manifesto

Hiring of former Michael Gove adviser Rachel Wolf is 'outrage to democracy', Labour claims

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 30 October 2019 13:50
Comments
What to watch out for in a pre-Christmas election

Boris Johnson has hired a lobbyist who works for fracking companies to help write the Conservatives' general election manifesto, it has emerged.

Rachel Wolf, who lobbies ministers on behalf of shale gas company Cuadrilla and tech giants such as Amazon and Facebook, has been brought in by the Tories to help put together their policy offer for the 12 December poll.

The former adviser to Michael Gove will continue as a partner at Public First, a lobbying and communications firm that she founded with her husband, while working on the Tory campaign.

Labour said her involvement in the campaign was an "outrage to democracy" but Public First insisted that Ms Wolf's work for the Conservatives was "wholly separate" to her work for its clients.

The company's last entry on the lobbying register showed that its clients included Cuadrilla and the Internet Association, a trade body that represents tech giants including Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Uber. It lobbies ministers on online regulation - an increasingly contentious issue and an area in which the next government is likely to have to take major decisions.

Ministers are currently consulting on setting up a new online regulator and a code of conduct for tech companies.

Public First also lobbies the government on fracking on behalf of Cuadrilla. The shale gas company faced public anger earlier this year after drilling at its site in Lancashire caused a series of tremors, including a 2.9-magnitude earthquake that damaged local homes.

Ms Wolf's work for the Tories was first revealed by The Guardian.

Jon Trickett, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: "If ever we needed another reminder that the Tory party represents the privileged few, this is it.

“It’s an outrage to democracy that the frackers, the tax dodgers and the zero-hour exploiters will have the biggest say when it comes to Tory policy.

“Labour is determined to win an election on a transformational platform for the many, and we will be a government that gives ordinary people a proper stake in how this country is run.”

A spokesperson for Public First said: “Public First has partners and staff who are members of all three major political parties and of none. Rachel is assisting the Conservative Party with their manifesto based on her long experience of working on Conservative policy. Her political work is wholly separate from any commercial arrangements our firm has.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in