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Labor Party calls for more regulated lobbying industry

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former PM David Cameron has found employment in the consulting and lobbying industry after he left public office in 2016

The opposition Labor Party is demanding the government strengthen laws around the country’s notoriously expansive and largely unregulated lobbying industry.

Labor’s intervention comes after former Tory Prime Minister, David Cameron, was cleared by a lobbying watchdog of any wrongdoing in relation to his association with a collapsed lender.

The Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists (RCL) concluded that Cameron had not breached existing laws and regulations by contacting officials on behalf of collapsed financial firm, Greensill Capital.

The RCL’s decision came as a surprise to observers as Cameron had demonstrably tried to lobby government figures to increase Greensill Capital’s access to emergency Covid-19 loans after the troubled company collapsed into administration.

It has emerged that under current rules and arrangements, Cameron was not classed as an outside “consultant” lobbyist and by extension he apparently was not obliged to make a declaration when he sought employment with Greensill Capital after he left public office.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister, Rachel Reeves, reacted to the RCL’s controversial decision by branding existing lobbying rules as “toothless”.

Reeves said it was “crucial” ministers draft legislation in next month’s Queen’s Speech to expand the register of consultant lobbyists to include “in house” lobbyists and consultants like the former Tory leader.

For their part, the government said in a statement that they have "significantly increased transparency since 2010 - routinely publishing details of contracts, spending and meetings, and introducing a statutory register of consultant lobbyists".


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