Controversial Lobbyist at the Heart of Downing Street

In those heady days of spring 2010 Nick Clegg told the ITV leadership debate that he wanted “something I’ve supported all my adult political life, which is a complete clean-up from top to toe of politics.” This included an end to murky lobbying and he subsequently convinced the Conservative coalition negotiators of the need for a compulsory register of lobbyists. So it is odd then that the lobbyist Olly Grender has gone to spin for Nick Clegg out of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. Grender is in Downing Street covering the maternity leave of Clegg’s gatekeeper Lena Pietsch, which means she will be back on the outside practising the dark arts very soon….

After spinning for the Liberal Democrats in the run up to the 1997 election, Grender turned to the dark-side of lobbying at Neal Lawson and Jonathan Mendelsohn’s scandal ridden and now defunct LLM Communications, which became notorious for their level of access to the Blair government. Eventually she moved on to PLMR – Political Lobbying and Media Relations. Leaving the quack green energy companies represented by the firm aside,  the organisation boasts that they represent Frankenstein doctors  like PLMR client Reneuron who experiment with stem-cells taken from new-born children, and pro-puppy-torturing and mouse-probing animal research organisations like UAR. PLMR also spin for the Brazilian Beef food processing industry, which George Monbiot accuses of “deforestation, slavery and murder”. Classy stuff…

Given the unfettered access that Grender now has and that her appointment is only temporary, what measures have been taken in Downing Street to make sure that her firm’s clients, who until very recently were paying her to represent them, do not have undue influence? The Cabinet Office can instigate a cooling off period after officials leave the government before they can jump through the revolving door. Will this “two years in the cooler” apply to Grender and her corporate lobbying career? With Nick Clegg leading the charge against the spinmeisters, what has he done to get his own house in order?



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