UK Conservatives Want Lobbyists off the Public Payroll

The Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC), the peak body for PR professionals and lobbyists in the UK, is horrified that the opposition Conservative Party is proposing that government agencies be banned from hiring lobbyists. APPC is urgently seeking a meeting with the shadow minister for the cabinet office, Nick Hurd, after he told the Times that "the hiring of lobbyists by government bodies to grab more government cash is a financial scandal." The controversy follows the Conservative Party documenting that state-funded agencies had spent over £9.7 million (US$14.4 million) on at least 71 separate contracts with lobbying firms over a five-year period. Hurd has proposed that, if the Conservative Party is elected, it would emulate the Byrd Amendment, which banned U.S. government agencies from hiring lobbyists. The amendment was adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1989.