Tory MP James Duddridge ‘Does a Sheerman’

A sitting Tory backbencher is working for a lobbying firm. James Duddridge is being paid £3,300 for just eight hours’ work a month in his role as a consultant for Brand Communications, according to reports. Duddridge says his second job is “not a public affairs role” but Brand Communications boasts of its “political communications and government relations” work in Africa. Duddridge is a former Africa Minister…

Lobbying regulator the PRCA prohibits its member firms from employing MPs, but Brand Communications is one of the small number of shops that have not signed up to the PRCA’s charter. PRCA Director General Francis Ingham said:

Brand Communications, which sits outside of the industry’s regulatory regime, is damaging all of our reputations in employing Duddridge. Politicians must now admit that the rules surrounding second jobs need to be reformed. Ethics is a two-way street. It is against our rules, but not against their own, and once again the biggest loser in all of this is the public. How can we expect people to have trust in politics when we let this sort of thing happen?”

The same loophole allowed Labour MP Barry Sheerman to register as a lobbyistGuido has no objection to MPs having a second income, just not from lobbyists trying to influence politics and potentially MPs’ votes…

Bell Pottinger Expelled From PRCA

Bell Pottinger has been expelled by the PRCA trade body over the South Africa scandal. The firm has been banned from joining again for five years. PRCA chief Francis Ingham says:

“Bell Pottinger has brought the PR and communications industry into disrepute with its actions, and it has received the harshest possible sanctions. The PRCA has never before passed down such a damning indictment of an agency’s behaviour.”

Bye…

PRCA Complain to Carolyn Harris Over Lobbyist’s Pass

prca-bailey

Following up Guido’s story Francis Ingham, the ever-lunching director general of the trade association for lobbyists the PRCA, has written an open letter to Carolyn Harris to complain about the lobbyist being granted a parliamentary pass by her. Guido revealed that Harris had granted a parliamentary pass to Lawrence Bailey of Whiterock Consulting, a man who was by his own admission “not an employee or member of Carolyn’s staff.” The PRCA’s Director General writes:

“I would like to remind you of your obligations to behave ethically as this story undermines the reputation of the lobbying industry and the integrity of MPs.

… Mr Bailey should have never entertained the idea of a parliamentary pass, and as an MP you should have never employed a lobbyist and given him a pass. Situations like this can seriously damage the public’s trust in politics.

We hope that there will be some swift action to clarify the situation. Will this matter be referred to the Commons Authority by yourself? Will Mr. Bailey be questioned as well?”

Bailey, who has so far received at least £51,305.60 in taxpayers cash while working for Harris and her predecessor, is not a PRCA member but is still bound by Parliament’s rules, which strictly forbids granting passes to lobbyists. Quite something for an MP to be blasted by lobbyists for a lack of ethics…

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