» Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Asked if lobbyists had undue influence on the Government, the Prime Minister’s spokesman (PMS) said that they did not.

Asked if the Government would take the opportunity to back a ten minute rule bill on setting up a register for lobbyists, the PMS said that the Government had a commitment to set up a statutory register for lobbyists and would be coming forward with proposals on it shortly.

Asked for more details on the Dyson conversation in China, the PMS said that it would be surprising if our Government hadn’t spoken to the Chinese about issues such as intellectual property rights. Asked if Dyson was a specific example raised in that conversation, the PMS said that he didn’t know, but that the Government often talked about business issues with other foreign Governments. He said we had taken business delegations to India and China and that people would expect us to raise business issues with foreign Governments.

Asked if the PM was concerned about how it was raised and if anyone in his office had spoken to Bell Pottinger, the PMS said that it was not true to say that Bell Pottinger or any other lobby company had influenced Government policy. If companies had issues then they could come and talk to the Government. If James Dyson called up Downing Street someone would take his call. Asked about the unofficial’ process of lobbyists calling former colleagues, the PMS said that if companies wanted to spend money on lobbyists that was a matter for them. The Government was going to regulate lobbying by introducing a statutory register and increasing transparency.

Asked if Bell Pottinger spoke to someone in Downing Street on Friday evening or if we would seek to find out if this happened regularly, the PMS said that they published lists of meetings with outside bodies, but not every conversation. He added that it was clearly in the lobbyists’ interests to tell their clients they could provide them with a service, but that it was simply not true to say that Bell Pottinger or any lobbying firm had influenced government policy.

Asked if in the future special advisors would have to publish meetings with lobbyists, the PMS said that they hadn’t come forward with proposals yet, but that the main issue was ensuring that we had transparency, and put in place the statutory register.

Asked if the Government’s proposals would be set out before Christmas, the PMS said they would be soon.

Asked if we would have conversations about intellectual property rights with any other foreign Governments, the PMS said that the Government was interested in promoting British Business.

original source.

Briefing took place at 10:00 | Search for related news

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