CIPR welcomes clampdown on foreign interest lobbyists
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) welcomes news, reported in The Times and The Daily Mail, that the UK government intends to clampdown on lobbyists working for foreign states, requiring them to register and threatening them with prosecution if they fail to do so. The move to introduce a foreign influence register is expected as part of the Counter States Threat Bill due to come before parliament later this year.
In early March, the CIPR wrote to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Ellis MP on the issue, arguing that the “situation in Ukraine and the public discussion around the influence of Russian Government-linked businesses in our political system means the UK’s lobbying transparency rules must be as effective as possible. That means having a mandatory register that requires all UK-based and international lobbyists to sign up”.
We have long maintained that the UK’s current registration requirements for lobbyists do not provide sufficient transparency about who is seeking to influence policy.
This is a very welcome move that will increase transparency, do more to reassure the public about the interests of lobbyists in this country, and support businesses when deciding who they work with and for. We are pleased that the industry has been listened to and that our recommendation has been implemented swiftly, given the urgency of the situation concerning the influence of Russian Government-linked businesses in the UK.
We hope this is the first step in designing a registration scheme that is fit for purpose and properly captures the full extent of lobbying activity around Westminster.