UK to regulate political lobbyists?

Foreign Secy William Hague has hinted that it could be time to look seriously at the practice of political lobbying.

London: The recent row over an aide of the
UK Defence secretary misusing his proximity to Liam Fox has
led to renewed calls to regulate the growing number of
political lobbyists operating in the corridors of power in
Westminster and elsewhere.

Fox had to resign last week due to his close relationship
with former flatmate and best man Adam Werritty, who, without
holding any official position, posed as an adviser to the
Defence secretary and accompanied him to meetings and foreign
tours.

Moves are afoot to put in place a compulsory register of
lobbyists in an attempt to clean up the practice of private
enterprises influencing politicians and the politicians
themselves having vested interests in promoting certain
causes.

The 2010 coalition agreement between the ruling
Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats said: "We will
regulate lobbying through introducing a statutory register of
lobbyists and ensuring greater transparency."

Prime Minister David Cameron`s official spokesman today said: "There`s always been a policy to move to a statutory
register (of lobbying). That work has been on-going."

He added that he expected the government consultation on
its plans for a statutory regulation of lobbying to begin
"quite soon", with legislation introduced next year in the
second session of Parliament.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has hinted that it could
be time to look more seriously at the practice of political
lobbying.

Shadow cabinet office minister Gareth Thomas said the
register of lobbyists was overdue.

He said: "David Cameron has still not introduced the
compulsory register of lobbyists he promised.

The government should bring forward as a matter of
urgency plans for a compulsory register of lobbyists with
records being kept of meetings between lobbyists and
ministers."

PTI

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