Socialist Worker

A government of the lobbyists for the lobbyists

Issue No. 2204

David Cameron and Nick Clegg claim their government will tackle lobbying. However, the Tory under secretary for defence is Gerald Howarth MP.

He once said, “People who decry the defence industry should hang their heads in shame because it is a noble industry.”

It is not surprising Howarth thinks this considering his links to arms dealers. When he was spokesperson for defence under Tory leader Michael Howard, Howarth provided a lobbyist for arms dealers with his allocated parliamentary staff passes.

In the last parliament Howarth found time to book rooms to hold “meetings” and dinners in the House of Commons for Rolls Royce, The UK Defence Forum, Air Power Association, and many others.

The ministry of defence has hurriedly said that Howarth will not have any decision-making role over arms procurement to prevent any conflict of interest.

Caroline Spelman is the Tory secretary of state for agriculture (Defra).

Prior to becoming an MP, she was a lobbyist for agribusiness.

She and her husband Mark set up Spelman, Cormack & Associates in 1989 as a food and biotech lobbying firm. Cormack is her unmarried name.

She resigned as a director less than a year ago and transferred her share of the company to her husband. At this point the company address changed from her constituency home to her London flat.

So the minister who is the main target to be lobbied by agribusiness has her name on lobbying company letterhead.

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Tue 1 Jun 2010, 18:54 BST
Issue No. 2204
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