Top lobbyist cancels champagne reception at Tory conference

I understand that Bell Pottinger is cancelling the champagne reception it usually holds in party conference season.

Bell Pottinger has held a champagne reception at one of the party conferences for the last 62 years (or something like that). There was great fanfare last year when the lobbyists announced they would be switching the annual champagne-fest from Labour conference to the Tory bash for the first time since the 1990s. The move was thought to symbolise Labour’s downfall and Cameron’s inevitable march towards Downing Street.

But this year it seems that not even the Tories will be getting the Bell Pottinger champagne treatment.

Why? I call Bell Pottinger public affairs supremo Peter Bingle for the lowdown. ‘The public mood has changed,’ he tells me. ‘The public is in a much more serious place than 12 months ago. Politics and public affairs has to adapt to that.’

Of course, Bingle is well aware that the Tories don’t want to be seen in public with his band of merry consultants. The Tories recently told lobbyists to back off in the pages of PR Week and they will be even more wary about dealing with them in the future following a recent warning from Guido Fawkes (see post below).

At this year’s conference Bell Pottinger and other lobbyists will hoping to deal with the Tories behind closed doors.

UPDATE: A version of this story is now on the PRWeek website

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