by Conor McGrath

“Throughout its history, lobbying in the UK has suffered from reputational (mis)perceptions, and failed to achieve widespread public legitimacy and understanding. Most lobbying scandals relate either to financial relationships between interest groups and politicians or to the personal access to politicians enjoyed by individual lobbyists. During the nineteenth century, for instance, it was common for MPs to hold directorships in firms such as railway companies and to promote those commercial interests in Parliament. In 1948–49, a judicial inquiry into the business dealings of a so-called contact man called Sidney Stanley resulted in the resignation of a Labour minister who had received gifts from Stanley, and Stanley fleeing to Israel. The Poulson affair in the 1970s mostly involved corruption in local government, but also caught up a few MPs who were found to have taken money in return for advancing the interests of major property developers. One feature of the lobbying boom of the 1980s and 1990s was that scores of MPs supplemented their income by working as consultants to lobbying firms and business groups—indeed, some went so far as to actually set up their own lobbying agencies while simultaneously sitting in Parliament”.

(from chapter 31, on the lobbying industry in UK)

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