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What Is Lobbying and Can It Be Good?

Prior to joining Luther in , she worked for a Conservative MP in Parliament, as well as a Democratic Congresswoman in Washington DC, a pro-business pressure group, and a leading political monitoring agency. Lucy also worked on campaigns for the Conservative Party in and , and for the Democrats in the southern states of the US in She works with a range of clients focusing on public affairs and media relations in sectors including aerospace, insurance, and manufacturing.


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Skip to content 1. Lobbyists — including advice from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards 2. W4MP Editor ————————————————— 1. Lobbyists — including advice from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Central Lobby is the place in Parliament where members of the public can come, without an appointment, to harangue their MP on the issues that are causing them concern. What are lobbyists for?

What is a Lobbyist? - FAQs About Lobbying

How can they help your Member? Dangers and pitfalls Gone are the days when a lobbyist simply had to hand over a brown envelope of crisp fifties in order to get an MP to fall into legislative line, and I think we can all agree that, for the sake of representative democracy and open government, this is a good thing — not least because it is a very foolish Member indeed who would accept a bribe from a lobbyist to lay so much as an Early Day Motion, let alone an amendment.

Members are not allowed to lobby for reward or consideration see Guide to the Rules paras Members are prohibited from lobbying for reward or consideration. All such registrable interests must be registered within 28 days of receipt. Links to both documents are provided at the end of this article. Gift theory holds that the receiver of the gift is implicitly obliged to return it in kind. The same applies to Members, but is dependent on which category the interest falls into; for example directorships, overseas visits and gifts.

Furthermore, you should never find yourself feeling obliged to undertake a course of action you are unhappy with because the lobbyist has bought you a nice pen as a Christmas present. The referendum on an alternative voting system was not, as anticipated, so much a conversation about the merits of first past the post.

Lobbyists and bureaucrats in Brussels

They led with the claim that switching to AV would deny troops badly needed equipment and sick babies incubators. The Yes camp lost the vote two to one. The trick is in knowing when to use the press and when to avoid it. The more noise there is, the less control lobbyists have.

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As a way of talking to government, though, the media is crucial. Messages are carefully crafted. Even if the corporate goal is pure, self-interested profit-making, it will be dressed up to appear synonymous with the wider, national interest. At the moment, that means economic growth and jobs. Get the messaging wrong and you get fiascos such as High Speed 2 HS2.

Westbourne reframed the debate to make it about jobs and economic growth. The new messaging focused on a narrative that pitted wealthy people in the Chilterns worried about their hunting rights against the economic benefits to the north. The strategy was "posh people standing in the way of working-class people getting jobs," said Bethell.

Private healthcare also regrouped after the wrong messages went public. As Andrew Lansley embarked on his radical reforms of the NHS, private hospitals and outsourcing firms were talking to investors about the "clear opportunities" to profit from the changes. After comments by Mark Britnell, the head of health at accountancy giants KPMG giants and a former adviser of David Cameron, hit the headlines in May — Britnell told an investors' conference that "the NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years" — the industry got a grip.

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Lobby group The NHS Partners Network moved quickly to get everyone back on-message and singing from "common hymn sheets" , as its chief lobbyist David Worskett explained. The reforms were about the survival of the NHS in straitened times.


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Just nobody mention the bumper profits. It doesn't help if a corporation is the only one making the case to government. That looks like special pleading.


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  4. What is needed is a critical mass of voices singing to its tune. This can be engineered. The forte of lobbying firm Westbourne is in mobilising voices behind its clients. Thirty economists, for example, signed a letter to the FT in in support of HS2; businesses endorsed another published in the Daily Telegraph. Westbourne was also hired in to lobby against the top rate of tax, although who was behind its "50p tax campaign" remains a mystery.

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    Ahead of the chancellor's annual Budget announcement in early , letters appeared in the press demanding he scrap it. The FT's was signed by 20 economists. A quick glance, though, revealed it included five managers from the Switzerland-based banking giant Credit Suisse.

    The paper's commentary noted the alarm this new call from "ordinary British business" would cause inside government. Corporations are one of the least credible sources of information for the public. What they need, therefore, are authentic, seemingly independent people to carry their message for them.

    One nuclear lobbyist admitted it spread messages "via third-party opinion because the public would be suspicious if we started ramming pro-nuclear messages down their throats". That's it in a nutshell. The tobacco companies are pioneers of this technique. Their recent campaign against plain packaging has seen them fund newsagents to push the economic case against the policy and encourage trading standards officers to lobby their MPs. British American Tobacco also currently funds the Common Sense Alliance , which is fronted by two ex-policemen and campaigns against "irrational" regulation.

    Philip Morris is similarly paying an ex-Met police officer, Will O'Reilly , to front a media campaign linking plain packaging to tobacco smuggling. Error requesting format availability.

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    Beth Leech | Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University

    Your request has been submitted. See all on Book TV Lobbying. February 5, Immigration and Lobbying Kevin Bogardus was interviewed by telephone about the effect lobbyists were having on congressional immigration reform…. May 8, Role of Federal Lobbyists Howard Marlowe talked about the role of federal lobbying, and he responded to telephone calls and electronic…. December 30, Lobbying in Washington Sheila Murphy talked about the differences between working as a lobbyists and as a Congressional staff member.