As the Tories vow to crack down on government lobbying, the Government maintains a deathly silence about its own plans.
Nine months on, ministers have still not made it clear whether they agree with select committee proposals to introduce greater transparency in to lobbying. And there’s little point asking the Cabinet Office press office who remain wedded to the standard line that a response will come ‘soon’ or ‘shortly’.
Yesterday, Francis Maude was the latest MP to try and find out what on Earth is going on.
Yet another written question demanded to know: ‘What progress has been made in the Government’s review of lobbying; when [the minister] plans to respond to… the public administration committee.’
And the illuminating reply from Cabinet Office minister Angela Smith?
‘The Government have consulted a range of interested parties, including practitioners and policy makers in the lobbying industry, the voluntary and charitable sector and the OECD. The Government plan to respond to the report from the Public Administration Select Committee on lobbying shortly.’
The answer is unlikely to appease MPs on the select committee, who are said to be deeply unimpressed by the baffling delay.
And it doesn’t help the Tories. They can’t develop their own plans much further until they know how tough Labour will be…