Labour demands inquiry into secret access for lobbyist ‘advisers’
Labour has today demanded an inquiry into reports that lobbyists have been secretly serving as advisers to government ministers and departments and passing information on to their clients before this information was known to the public.
Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner has written to the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case demanding an urgent inquiry “into how lobbyists and their clients benefited from this vital information before the public knew, as the rest of the country waited anxiously for government announcements about lockdown… and whether they could see their families, friends and loved ones.”
Rayner said that the existence of “one rule for lobbyists and their paying clients and another rule for the rest of us” is “deeply insulting” to the British people who have “sacrificed so much in our national effort against Covid-19”.
Saying that these reports are “just the latest in a long line of revelations” of cronyism regarding businesses and individuals with close links to the Conservative Party that have adversely affected public trust during this pandemic, Labour is demanding that Ministers “come clean with the public”.
Questions that Rayner has called for an investigation to answer include:
- Which lobbyists have been hired as secret advisers to government Ministers and departments, what processes were followed in hiring them, what their responsibilities are in government and what information they have been given access to.
- Whether Ministers have overruled or ignored concerns raised by civil servants about these appointments.
- Whether lobbyists serving as secret advisers have signed confidentiality agreements to ensure that the information they have access to is not passed on to their paying clients.
- A full list of all contracts that have been signed with consultancies during the coronavirus crisis, including any contracts signed with companies that employ the lobbyists hired as secret government advisers.