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The Troublemaker – For lobbyists, ‘It’s time for us to start doing Labour again’

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Issue 2570


Tim Sanders - parliament and outside interests
Tim Sanders – parliament and outside interests (Pic: Tim Sanders)

Lobbyists are slowly moving towards Labour.

“There’s been a total revolution in the public affairs industry with regards to Jeremy Corbyn,” says Kevin Craig, of lobbying firm PLMR. “Corbyn in Number 10 is now a realistic possibility. So clients are very very interested in the Labour Party now.”

Craig donated £16,400 to Labour’s 2017 general election campaign.

Chris Rumfitt, managing director of Field Consulting, said, “Since the election, we’ve had commissions from existing clients and new business from people who are wanting to look at what a Labour government would mean for them.”

Exhibition space has sold out at the Labour Party conference. As one lobbyist put it, “It’s time for us to start doing Labour again.”

Most lobbying firms are full of former Conservative and Labour figures but few from the Labour left.

So in the last parliament, consultants adopted a strategy of looking for individual moderate MPs. One lobbyist said, “They are giving the advice that they were giving before, which is go to the moderates.

“So if you want to engage on business and Brexit go to Chuka Umunna.”

According to John Lehal of Four Public Affairs, who worked on the Andy Burnham and Owen Smith Labour leadership campaigns, “Organisations need to activate a red strand to their lobbying”.

Labour in the City, a networking club for people who work in the financial services industry boasts 600 members.

Lobbyist Kevin McKeever advises that businesses can break through if they adopt “a real engagement with the principles that were in the Labour manifesto—around pay ratios, what businesses would have to do to get public sector contracts under a Labour government”.

He adds, “There’s real detail there and it’s not as hostile as people might think, but does require engagement and understanding.”

Cops try to prevent Lawrence spy naming

The family of Stephen Lawrence may discover the identity of the undercover police officer who spied on them during their campaign for justice.

The spy who has been known for three years as N81 was planted in the “wider Lawrence family camp” by the Metropolitan Police.

Stephen was murdered by racists in 1993.

In 2014 an independent report confirmed that the undercover officer was spying on Stephen’s parents, passing on information about the state of Doreen and Neville Lawrence’s marriage to senior police officers.

Sir John Mitting, the judge leading the public inquiry into undercover policing, believes the “cover name” of the officer should be released.

Scotland Yard is fiercely resisting publication of the identity of N81.

Mitting has granted the Metropolitan Police the chance to argue its case later this year in a secret hearing from which the Lawrence family will be excluded.

Activate the young people on the memes

What the Tories need is a Tory Momentum, which gives “opportunity to campaign for things in which they believe”, according to Michael Gove.

What the Tories need is Activate. It launched last week. The social media-savvy youff introduced themselves with a 15 year old meme hashtagged #meme.

Horrified at the bad netiquette the Tory party said the group is “not officially linked to the Conservatives and it gets no party funding”.

One parody account later the media co-ordinator left after just a day. The campaign director also went. And the group’s “People” page disappeared altogether, presumably while they look for some people.

Donors on its website included, “Theresa May is wildly incompetent” and, “Harold Shipman”.

A Whatsapp group for Activate saw them discuss “gassing chavs”. Tomorrow belongs to them.

Lib dom’s harassment

Lib Dem Dean Stone messaged Labour candidate Siobhan Strode days before a Devon council election.

Using Facebook’s messenger app he wished her good luck for the poll, then asked if there was “anything embarrassing” in her past. Stone then sent her the snap showing him with a mouse nose and ears in erotic role play with a “mistress”.

His caption read, “Your opinion on this then?”

Stone, who calls himself The Mouse on Facebook, apologised for a “breach of boundaries”.

He finished last in the by-election.

Bet on access to parliament

Bookies and sports organisations top the list of donors treating MPs to gifts and hospitality.

Ladbrokes Coral Group treated 15 MPs to trips to Ascot, Doncaster and Cheltenham races, football at Wembley and dinner at the Tory Party conference.

Ladbrokes Coral said, “We employ over 25,000 people. Of course we engage with politicians.”

Not that there is currently lobbying over fixed-odds machines in bookies.

Tory MP looks at how to survive

The Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne looks ahead to debates in parliament. “It’s at times like this that you have to concentrate on what you have already survived,” he said.

“We survived school, including rubber-like liver that you had to hide in your pocket. We survived those knee-length football shorts that chapped your inner thighs.”

Lib Dems appoint PR expert

Sir Nick Harvey has been appointed interim chief executive of the Liberal Democrats. Harvey is a public relations expert apparently.

After losing his seat in 2015, he wrote about what the Lib Dems could do better. “It may be that, with all that happened, we were fucked anyway,” he said.

All rise – the changing value of David Cameron

  • £5.40 – cost of a ticket to a “Conversation with David Cameron” in Rapid City, South Dakota
  • £800,000 – what Cameron got for his “frank” autobiography. Tony Blair got £4.6 million and Margaret Thatcher £3.5 million for theirs
  • £120,000 – per hour Cameron got for a speech on Brexit in New York last year

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