Campaigners turn up heat on “cab for hire” Byers

A petition has been launched asking the Queen "to strip Stephen Byers of his Privy Council Membership", calling his behaviour "wholly & utterly inappropriate".

In the wake of the revelations about the conduct of former minsters Stephen Byers, Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt yesterday there have been demands for Byers, especially, to be severely punished for boasting he was “like a cab for hire”, charging up to £5,000 a day for his services and claiming he had used his government contacts to change policies in favour of businesses which had given him money.

Although Lord Adonis, a successor of Byers as transport secretary and one of those named as having been influenced, denies Byers’s version of events, telling the Commons this afternoon that he “does not know why he would say such a thing”, pressure is mounting for Byers to be expelled from the Privy Council.

A petition has been launched asking the Queen “to strip Stephen Byers of his Privy Council Membership”, stating his continued membership of the council is “wholly and utterly inappropriate”. It adds:

“We, the undersigned, call on Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth … to strip Stephen Byers MP of his membership of the Privy Council due to his involvement in offering to sell access to the British Government for personal profit.”

Just last weekend Left Foot Forward reported the launch of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency‘s campaign for a compulsory register of lobbyists, revealing the high number of PPCs involved in the lobbying industry and their failure to disclose their links to voters.

Tamasin Cave of the ALT today said:

“We must now have public scrutiny of the whole of the influence industry. The public has a right to know what other deals are being done over public policy and government contracts. Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg must publicly commit to introducing a statutory register of lobbyists, as recommended a year ago by the Public Administration Select Committee…

Today’s revelations have finally embarrassed Labour into supporting a statutory register of lobbyists in its manifesto. This is not enough. We need a firm commitment from all parties to implement the Committee’s recommendation for a statutory register of lobbyists at the earliest possible date. Despite David Cameron’s recent words on the need for more transparency in lobbying, the Conservative party still appears to back the failed system of self-regulation by lobbyists over a compulsory register

“For too long we’ve been asked to trust politicians that they will act in the public interest. If public trust is to be rebuilt – and if we want government accountability – we need transparency. The public must be allowed to scrutinise in whose interest politicians are acting, ours or those of business.”

• Sign the 38 Degrees petition demanding lobbying transparency, and find out what you can do to take action.

Dispatches: Politicians for Hire” is on tonight on Channel 4 at 8:00.

12 Responses to “Campaigners turn up heat on “cab for hire” Byers”

  1. Billy Blofeld

    £5,000 will get you a very long taxi journey – but the question is how far:

    A. Glasgow
    B. Paris
    C. Valencia
    D. Napoli

    Give yourselves a pat on the back If you guessed the correct answer.

  2. concrete pump

    I’m going to watch Despatches stoned, if i watch it straight, i’ll put my size 11 etnies through the TV.

  3. Geo

    Is there any part of government that ISNT riddled with corruption? If there is an honest department… could it be pointed out to the voters so we dont accidentally lynch the innocent?

  4. Mr. Sensible

    I have to see I agree with Darling ETC that Mr Bires et al’s conduct is disgraceful.

  5. David Leaver

    Gosh.Power to the people.What a great insight into their world.Glad the woman from Luton is feeling a little better.

  6. simon

    Adonis told the Commons nothing.
    The Labour benches are so full of third raters that they had to bring this man from outside parliament and stick him in the House of Lords simply to make up the number of barely competent ministers

  7. Shamik Das

    Of course I meant to say Adonis addressed the Lords. I’d say he is one of the best ministers out there.

  8. UCEbaggie

    I’m so angry with myself for naively assuming that this kind of tawdry, self-serving business was the domain of the Conservative Party.

    This is just another example of the disconnect between our political elite and the constituents that they are supposed to serve. For too long now a career in politics is determined by attending the right university, and forging the right contacts at that early age.

    Many of us who have taken an interest in politics at a later stage of our lives feel as though we are destined to spend the rest of our lives working hard in our constituencies, only to see a preferred candidate parachuted in, to deny excellent local candidates a shot at representing their community in parliament.

  9. evidence based really?

    It makes me laugh how your ‘evidence based blog’ develops a neutral style of reporting when the sleaze is well and trully at Labour’s door. You have run an article slating Cameron on this issue, but have refused to condemn Brown for these ministers or even critise Byers et al.

    Evidence based? Really?

  10. Mick Furey

    Let’s take £3 000/day as the base rate these people want. On a 5-day week , with say 6 weeks holidays, that’s £690 000 per year. I had to check that 3 times to make sure it was right. What sort of jobs did they do before they were elected that gave them such a high opinion of their worth?

  11. TheDevineOne

    Best thing would be to licence all lobbyist – as all taxis are licenced, have to fulfil a minimum standard, CRB check, ISA check, carry all sorts of extras before they are legal. If we licence lobbyists, they will have to pay for the licence, CRB checks and they will only be able to charge up to a certain amount. should put a crimp in some people’s day.

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