Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are”

Leading lobbyist Peter Bingle failed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in an interview on the World at One yesterday.

By Tamasin Cave of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency

A senior figure in the commercial lobbying industry, Peter Bingle, failed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in an interview on the World at One yesterday.

In a discussion on the government’s proposed compulsory register of lobbyists, Bingle, who is chairman of Lord Bell’s firm, Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, was asked if he had been lobbying the government against the statutory register.

He replied:

“We’ve always led the field in making the industry more transparent. I’ve always believed in that.”

Not quite true. In a Parliamentary inquiry into lobbying in 2009, Bingle was asked by committee member Paul Flynn “if the public has a right to know” who is lining the pockets of lobbyists.

Bingle replied:

“No, I do not. The public has no right to know who our clients are.”

Some of Bingle’s other statements to Martha Kearney were equally misleading:

“All that a register [of lobbyists] would show is a company’s clients and the person dealing with that client.”

Again, not true, as Bell Pottinger well knows.

A 2006 filing by the firm on the US’s long-standing register of lobbyists reveals the following:

The names of the individual lobbyists and whether any of them had passed through the ‘revolving door’ between lobbying and politics;

• The details of the lobbying firm and description of their business, (on this particular filing, the registered address is the same building that houses Bingle’s office);

The name of the client, its details and description of its business, (in this case the government of Dubai);

• Which officials are being lobbied;

• Both a general description and the specific issues being lobbied on;

• Details of anyone other than the client who is funding the lobbying activity;

• Whether the client is a ‘foreign entity’;

• And last, but most importantly: how much money is being spent by that client on lobbying.

This is what a robust statutory register of lobbyists looks. Imagine what we might know if we had a similar system in the UK.

So, why would Bingle claim a register would only show the names of the lobbyists and their clients? Perhaps because that’s all his firm is prepared to reveal here in the UK. And at the moment, under the flimsy system of self-regulation that currently exists, that’s what lobbyists get away with (and then only those that choose to opt into self-regulation).

So what’s stopping the UK from having a statutory register of lobbyists?

According to Bingle:

“The real problem [with a statutory register] is how to define who a lobbyist is. The drafting of this would be very difficult.”

Sounds complicated. Here’s an idea though: we could use one of the tried and tested definitions that is in use in one of the many countries around the world that has been successfully operating a compulsory register of lobbyists for some years, starting with the US or Canada.

Finally, Bingle when asked again whether he had been lobbying the government over the register, replied “no”. Given his previous, who knows how true that statement is…

See also:

Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulationTamasin Cave, October 10th 2011

Is Big Tobacco blowing smoke in Cameron’s eyes?Martin Dockrell, June 10th 2011

Crony capitalism alive and well under the ConservativesTamasin Cave, April 27th 2011

Why we need for a compulsory register of lobbyistsTamasin Cave, March 14th 2010

Tory 24-hour u-u-turn on lobbying transparencyJohnny Chatterton, April 20th 2010

47 Responses to “Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are””

  1. Marilyn Freeman

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: http://t.co/L7wlSbfa by @Spinwatch’s Tamasin Cave

  2. Dino Goldie

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: http://t.co/L7wlSbfa by @Spinwatch’s Tamasin Cave

  3. Raj Thamotheram

    #Lobbyists tell half truths/lie easily. #compulsoryregister is vital. Can we trust anything #Cameron promises? http://t.co/eUU49yki

  4. Political Planet

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: Leading lobbyist Peter Bin… http://t.co/kraQZO9t

  5. Mr. Wright

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: Leading lobbyist Peter Bin… http://t.co/kraQZO9t

  6. Elrik Merlin

    Meet Peter Bingle, the lobbyist who says “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  7. amol rajan

    More on lobbyist Peter Bingle's links to the likes of General Pinochet here: http://t.co/3IKaDOqU & our article: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  8. Darren Nash

    Twat. RT @leftfootfwd: Meet Peter Bingle, the lobbyist who says “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: http://t.co/acF7K86z

  9. grahame whitfield

    Meet Peter Bingle, the lobbyist who says “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  10. Matt Jeffs

    Meet Peter Bingle, the lobbyist who says “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  11. Daniel Elton

    @sunny_hundal @OwenJones84 : Exposed: Lobbyists Bell Pottinger's fibbies on Radio 4 – http://t.co/GG1flc5D on @leftfootfwd

  12. Daniel Elton

    @guidofawkes @DouglasCarswell @shivmalik1 : Exposed: Lobbyists Bell Pottinger's fibbies on Radio 4 – http://t.co/GG1flc5D on @leftfootfwd

  13. Daniel Elton

    @aaronjohnpeters @Markfergusonuk @lisaansell : Exposed: Lobbyists Bell Pottinger's fibbies on Radio 4 – http://t.co/GG1flc5D on @leftfootfwd

  14. dave m

    Meet Peter Bingle, the lobbyist who says “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  15. Mark Stay

    Twat. RT @leftfootfwd: Meet Peter Bingle, the lobbyist who says “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: http://t.co/acF7K86z

  16. gina sargunar

    Meet Peter Bingle, the lobbyist who says “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  17. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” http://t.co/OHDxxVaE

  18. Hugh Potter

    Meet Peter Bingle, the lobbyist who says “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  19. Michael

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” l Left Foot Forward – http://t.co/1Bb5mDC1

  20. Barbara Hulme

    Meet Peter Bingle, the lobbyist who says “the public has no right to know who our clients are”: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  21. Selohesra

    Its tough being a lobbyist with all the entertaining and dinners they have to have – looks like Bingle has really laid his body on the line for his causes – what a pro!

  22. Patricia Farrington

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” l Left Foot Forward – http://t.co/1Bb5mDC1

  23. Simon

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” http://t.co/THqhEife

  24. Spinwatch

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” Tamasin Cave in Left Foot Forward http://t.co/2G9C0qzP

  25. Bella Caledonia

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” Tamasin Cave in Left Foot Forward http://t.co/2G9C0qzP

  26. Jane Shaw

    RT @leftfootfwd: Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” http://t.co/rvj0tto8

  27. Joss Garman

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” Tamasin Cave in Left Foot Forward http://t.co/2G9C0qzP

  28. brian hocknull

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” Tamasin Cave in Left Foot Forward http://t.co/2G9C0qzP

  29. peter fainton

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” Tamasin Cave in Left Foot Forward http://t.co/2G9C0qzP

  30. Mark

    @parsifal2 has gone surprisingly quiet http://t.co/Qk4z6D8A I'm still accepting media bids though, to put the proper case for lobbying

  31. Hilary Marmot

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” Tamasin Cave in Left Foot Forward http://t.co/2G9C0qzP

  32. Henry

    Selohesra beat me to it with the comment about the impact of all that lunching. Still, you probably wouldn’t want to hire a thin lobbyist.

  33. Nicholas Ripley

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” http://t.co/kcAuDqbq

  34. angus murray

    RT @leftfootfwd: Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” http://t.co/tFm392Im #fb

  35. Frederika Whitehead

    Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” Tamasin Cave in Left Foot Forward http://t.co/2G9C0qzP

  36. Sue Marsh

    @aaronjohnpeters @Markfergusonuk @lisaansell : Exposed: Lobbyists Bell Pottinger's fibbies on Radio 4 – http://t.co/GG1flc5D on @leftfootfwd

  37. Richard Hardy

    .@PeterBingle we'll take no lessons frm a grubby, unprincipled lobbyist like u: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi cc @NigelStanley

  38. AltGovUK

    We'll hv a report on the latest lobbying scandal shortly, meantime here's one frm b4 on the sliminess of @PeterBingle: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  39. Latest lobbying scandal leads right to Cameron’s door | Left Foot Forward

    […] One of the lobbyists caught by today’s investigation by the Independent / Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Tim Collins, is the chief lobbyist at Bell Pottinger Public Affairs. […]

  40. Richard Hardy

    We'll hv a report on the latest lobbying scandal shortly, meantime here's one frm b4 on the sliminess of @PeterBingle: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  41. neilrfoster

    Got another lobbying story coming up, but in the meantime here's one from the archives: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  42. CRAIG MELSON

    Got another lobbying story coming up, but in the meantime here's one from the archives: http://t.co/jw8xJhvi

  43. honestlyAbroad

    RT @leftfootfwd: Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” http://t.co/Nc2TqyVN #bellpottinger

  44. Shamik Das

    @nhs999 @PeterBingle I thought I was being restrained. This is Peter http://t.co/eOcb5JP3 Bingle we're talking about. Unconscionable

  45. Ben Mayers

    @nhs999 @PeterBingle I thought I was being restrained. This is Peter http://t.co/eOcb5JP3 Bingle we're talking about. Unconscionable

  46. Look Left – Europe 26-1 Cameron: Britain isolated like never before | Left Foot Forward

    […] Tamasin Cave, of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, explained on Left Foot Forward how the latest exposé leads right to Cameron’s door: “This is reminiscent of the old Tory days of sleaze. A Conservative government at the heart of yet another lobbying scandal. Last month’s led to the resignation of the defence secretary. This one leads to the prime minister himself. One of the lobbyists caught by today’s investigation by the Independent / Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Tim Collins, is the chief lobbyist at Bell Pottinger Public Affairs. […]

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