Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation

Tamasin Cave of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency argues that Liam Fox’s impropriety shows why we need to ensure lobbying becomes a well-regulated industry.

By Tamasin Cave of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency

There are many questions thrown up by Liam Fox’s relationship with Adam Werritty, but perhaps the most significant is this: If the MoD isn’t paying Werritty, who is?

Which defence interests have had access to the defence secretary, without any public scrutiny, via his ‘advisor’?

Unfortunately, it’s the question we’re least likely to get an answer to.

In this instance, we now know that the ‘chance meeting’ between Liam Fox and the defence company Porton was the direct result of paid lobbying. Porton hired lobbyists Tetra Strategy to get to the defence secretary. It paid the firm £10,000 a month to secure a meeting. Tetra put Porton chief Harvey Boulter in touch with Werritty, who made the introductions to Fox.

This is how lobbying works.

But who are the other ‘defence-related business interests’ that he works for?

We may never know. But we could have known, had the government delivered on its pledge to ‘shine the light of transparency on lobbying’.

Last year, Cameron promised he’d “force our politics to come clean about who is buying power and influence”, because, he said, he believes “secret corporate lobbying… is why people are so fed up with politics”. In May last year, we saw a commitment from the coalition to introduce a compulsory register of lobbyists.

This would reveal who is lobbying whom and about what. Anyone engaged in lobbying would have to regularly declare their clients, who they had met, and what was discussed. Simple.

Yet the government has sat on its hands. Eighteen months on, we are still no nearer to having public scrutiny of the £2bn lobbying industry. A consultation on the register has been due since last autumn. We’re still waiting.

From what we know of Adam Werritty’s activities, we can conclude he is acting as a lobbyist. What’s also apparent is that he’s trading on his friendship with Fox. Werritty’s career has mirrored that of Fox, first running a health consultancy when Fox was shadow health, then a defence consultancy.

With a regulated lobbying industry, Werritty’s role would be exposed and his clients would be in the public domain. As it is, too many questions remain and the stench of impropriety hangs about Westminster once again.

See also:

Grayling dragged into Fox/Werritty scandal – are Osborne, Gove and Hague next?Shamik Das, October 10th 2011

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

Tory manifesto u-turn on lobbying transparencyJohnny Chatterton, April 19th 2010

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

Questions Fox must answer over close links to Sri Lankan “dictator”Elliott Fox, February 18th 2010

20 Responses to “Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation”

  1. Power2010

    Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation | Left Foot Forward //j.mp/pCvbOg

  2. James Graham

    Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation | Left Foot Forward //j.mp/pCvbOg

  3. MerseyMal

    Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation | Left Foot Forward //j.mp/pCvbOg

  4. Meg Howarth

    RT @UnlockDemocracy Fox sliminess shows how much need #lobbying regulation //t.co/4nx8vvbV #FoxWerritty #unlockdemocracy #FeralElite

  5. EyeSeeSound

    Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation | Left Foot Forward //j.mp/pCvbOg

  6. Derek Thomas

    Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation | Left Foot Forward //j.mp/pCvbOg

  7. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation //t.co/4SedftNi

  8. Henry Allen

    Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation: //t.co/tVAZa5a2 writes @SpinWatch’s Tamasin Cave #Fox #Werritty

  9. Shamik Das

    Brilliant performance frm @JohnMcTernan on the #Werritty scandal on @BBCNews just now! C also //t.co/Sa0XP6D3 & //t.co/H7MliGIg

  10. Spinwatch

    RT @leftfootfwd: Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation: //t.co/IJ2KwHAm writes @Spinwatch’s Tamasin Cave #Fox…

  11. Rob the crip

    What we need to know is the bank balance of an MP and minister when they become an MP and when they leave we need to know how much they have made.

    Because the Huttons the Blair’s the Browns, take Brown we are told he’ll never return to Parliament to carry out his duties, yet gets paid as an MP while he uses tax payers money to run around the world getting paid hundreds of thousands , Mandleson another who has spent his time on Oligarchs boats while being in a position to help that person, politics in the UK stinks worse then in Russia

  12. How long can slippery Fox cling on? | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation – Tamasin Cave, Monday October 10th […]

  13. AntennaRed

    RT @leftfootfwd: Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation: //t.co/IJ2KwHAm writes @Spinwatch’s Tamasin Cave #Fox…

  14. kppotatoes

    Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation | Left Foot Forward //j.mp/pCvbOg

  15. London IWW

    Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation //t.co/nleDA1j6 | #Corruption

  16. Ruhel

    Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation //t.co/nleDA1j6 | #Corruption

  17. Shamik Das

    And for more on the #Fox #Werritty scandal see //t.co/Sa0XP6D3 & //t.co/H7MliGIg & //t.co/DhbPcPgE #BBCQT

  18. Fox resigns, sparking puns from all sides | Left Foot Forward

    […] longer term lessons to learn from this farce were detailed by Tamasin Cave: In this instance, we now know that the ‘chance meeting’ between Liam Fox and the defence […]

  19. Look Left – Cameron bids Fox ‘thank you and goodbye’ | Left Foot Forward

    […] Forward here, and we’ve got more on the Fox/Werritty scandal, as it developed this week, here, here, here and […]

  20. Exposed: The lobbyist who said “the public has no right to know who our clients are” | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • Fox’s sliminess shows how much we need lobbying regulation – Tamasin Cave, October 10th […]

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