It was no suprise to see last week’s Tory conference buzzing with lobbyists. But the flood of public affairs professionals has caused some alarm in the Tory blogosphere.
First Dan Hannan, blogging from the conference, noted that there were ‘remarkably few’ Tories. He complained: ‘In consequence, the place resembles a business convention rather than a political rally, and fringe events are filled with cautious, sleekit, Europhile PR types.’
Then ConservativeHome’s Tim Montgomerie told how NGO lobbyists hijacked a fringe event he was chairing. He reckons the conference attracted ‘a lot of lobbyists, charities and so on’ and ‘relatively few’ party members.
Finally Iain Dale piled in on Friday with a similar criticism. He concluded: ‘Lobbyists should recognise that party conferences are conferences for the party, and not for them…. At times, they should recognise that they are best seen and not heard.’
Of course, the ratio of of lobbyists to party members was most wildly distorted at around 1am in the bar of the Midland Hotel.
Given the price of the champagne, some may have felt the extra lobbyists were very welcome…