After weeks of coverage in PR Week, The Sunday Times has latched on to the fact that general election candidates are increasingly popping up in the world of lobbying.
According to Marie Woolf in The Sunday Times today: ‘The next election was supposed to mark a fresh start for Britain’s political system with a new intake of MPs untainted by Westminster scandal.’
BUT: ‘It has now emerged… that more than 50 prospective candidates chosen by the main parties are already working as lobbyists and public relations executives.’
(The figure of 50 was actually dug up last week by Ian Hall of Public Affairs News)
The prospect of the next parliament being flooded by lobbyists is worth examining. But how many of these 50 PPCs have any chance of winning their seat? And how many of those with a chance of winning are bona fide lobbyists (as opposed to candidates doing a few months in PR to tide them over until the election)? Much less than 50, is the answer.
On the other hand the number of Tory PPCs with strong right-wing credentials (‘less concerned about climate change than terrorism, oppose green taxes and are hostile to gay adoptions’) appears to be well over 50.
In short, we may get a few lobbyists entering parliament at the next election, but this won’t be the main trait of the new intake. More numerous will be the right-wingers who make David Cameron look like Tony Benn.
Although in some cases, such as Tory PPC and Weber Shandwick director Priti Patel, there might be some cross-over…