All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) at the UK Houses of Parliament are formed by MPs and Peers with an interest in a particular country or subject.  Here’s the current list.  In general, the groups lobby for or about the thing which is on their name and some receive funding, usually to cover administration and some events, from those interests who stand to benefit from the group.  The rules are clear and transparency is key.

The BBC has been covering the schlock around APPGs and lobbying today along the lines of; “this sort of thing can’t be right, can it?”  Well, I’ve not heard it report yet that there is a  BBC All Party Group, funded by, erm The BBC.  And guess who it lobbies on behalf of?  There’s also a Channel 4 Group.  There’s an ITV Group. There’s a Media Group, too, funded by, well, the media (Guardian, ITV, Channel 4, BBC, etc).  The Telegraph itself, which had been making the running on this story, has yet to report that it also funds the Media APPG.   Jesus, even OFCOM does. What’s more, all these organisations employ in-house political lobbyists and pay lobbying consultants.  They do all this because they have a legitimate interest in the legislation and whatnot which affects them and understand that in many ways lobbying IS politics.

If people break the crystal-clear rules around all party groups or lobbying then they should be punished accordingly, obviously.  And they are.  But I wish the media would be a bit more honest about what lobbying actually is and why they engage so aggressively in it themselves.

Oh, and while I’m at it, here’s Peter Facey of Unlock Democracy saying that the government should; “crack down on the links between all party groups and commercial interests “. Really, just the commercial ones?  Cool, and leave the army of lobbyists like Peter, paid by non-profit organisations (many of whom of course have for-profit interets sitting right behind them), free to crack on as normal?  What’s the moral difference between commercial and non-commercial interests, for goodness sake? No, the quote from Peter Facey about lobbying is itself a nakedly self-interested bit of lobbying.  Hilarious.

Enough bollocks on lobbying, already. Please.





11 Responses to Shouldn’t The Media Report on their own Parliamentary Lobbying?
  1. […] which I don’t understand: what do you actually do? Eric Joyce MP speaks some sense on the subject on a recent blog, pointing out that practically every commercial and non-commercial entity in existence lobbies […]

  2. Shouldn’t The Media Report on their own Parliamentary Lobbying?
    By Eric Joyce

    Can’t do bold or underline but this riposte from AJ says it all.

    I think that they whole stable should be wheeched out of Holyrood and maybe a lobby forum should be estabished for this to accommadate.

  3. No where in my quote does it say that non comercial lobbyists should not be regulated. My quote was about APPG’s and money in this case someone paying to set one up – which is wrong.

    Yes I think the problem is money and politics and that it needs to be tacked. But I accept that everybody who is paid to lobby should be treated equally.

    You simply used it to have a pop at us without bothering to check our position. And no I dont campaign to create a group of ” a ‘lobbyist’ class of intermediaries (made up professional qualifications down the line) and sets up the idea that lobbying is something other than regular politics, itself an extension of the idea that politicians can’t be trusted with politics and need even more regulation by a non-elected great and good is needed. ”

    Have you ever bothered to read any of our stuff before making these things up. We campaign to replace unelected (lords) with directly elected members of the second chamber. We spend much of our time encouraging people to get involved and take action I dont think anyone other than you would say that we are friends of the great and the good.

    Sad to say its you who seems to be defending the great and the good and business as usual.

    • Tell you what I’ll do, bud. I’ll see if any journos will come in and say if they think my quote was fair.

  4. The only lobbyist an MP should have is his/her constituents. After all that is who you guys work for. You say enough bollocks about lobbying…. I say enough bollocks full stop MPs should get on with the job of democratic representation.

    • This post was about the media, not MPs – the latter’s a bit navel gazing and self-obsessive for my tastes. I spend most of my time on constituency casework, so do most MPs. Why do you think we’d be doing otherwise?

  5. I dont mind be told we talk bollocks, but please get your facts straight. Unlock Democracy is calling for a statutory register of lobbyists which should include all those who are paid to lobby.

    This is about transparency.

    • You gave a quote to the media which specifically flagged the relationship between commercial organisations and all party groups. I used your quote verbatim and in context. If you don’t like it, don’t say it again.

      Your campaign is designed to create a ‘lobbyist’ class of intermediaries (made up professional qualifications down the line) and sets up the idea that lobbying is something other than regular politics, itself an extension of the idea that politicians can’t be trusted with politics and need even more regulation by a non-elected great and good is needed. Moreover, a strict register would create even more opaque and even less accessible patterns of influence than exist at present.

  6. The most sinister aspects are the alleged apparent readiness to provide cab for hire style facilities, how a Commons pass can be obtained for money and (Fact!) the collusion between the Tory BBC and the anti any sort of Government Daily Telegraph, owned by the Barclay brothers, tax avoiding in Monaco or on Brecqhou according to advice from tax lawyers.

    Since the Gilligan affair the BBC has followed the right wing largely foreign resident UK media more than far enough to convince anyone that Lefties are confined to comedy and woman’s hour. How buried is public service broadcasting to become before it deserves to be sold to Murdoch et al?

    If lobbying is well regulated why do some MPs allegedly imagine that they could get away with the examples in the news, Eric?

    • The peers as lobbyists story in today’s STimes dumfounds me. I’ve no idea why Jack Cunningham would think he’s seriously going to be offered £144k for an occasional, easy bit of lobbying. I’ve really never thought to check a peers interests re: APPG activity before when I’ve done work with them. The Lords is essentially a large social and business network, though, and we don’t pay them a salary (although ‘attendance’ allowance is pay by another name for peers resident in London and I imagine most peers are in receipt of pensions too). The main thing is transparency.


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