Cameron warns MPs against lobbying scandal
Published 24/03/2010 | 05:00
DAVID CAMERON has warned future Conservative MPs in Britain not to mire a new Tory government in a fresh lobbying scandal amid concerns over the high number of his party's candidates with links to the industry.
The Tory leader fears that the number of incoming Conservative MPs with connections to lobbying firms could hit his administration with a similar scandal that has seen three former cabinet ministers suspended from the Labour Party. Dozens of Tory candidates are either lobbyists or have recently left the industry.
The warning came as more senior Tory MPs and even figures with access to the party's leadership came under the spotlight for their links to the lobbying industry.
It has emerged that the former Conservative leader Michael Howard was one of four Tory MPs who showed initial interest in working for a fake US firm, set up by Channel 4's 'Dispatches' team. He later told the company that he was no longer interested. Conservative Central Office was tipped off by another MP about the possible sting operation.
While MPs are allowed to hold positions with public relations firms, being paid to lobby the British government on behalf of a company is outlawed. However, the Tory leader fears that a large "grey area" about just what constitutes lobbying could land his new MPs in trouble. "There will be no special access for anybody," Mr Cameron said. (© Independent News Service)