Row over ‘crass’ Tory lobbying rumbles on…

The Association of Home Information Pack Providers appears to be rather unhappy with their (ex) public affairs firm Luther Pendragon.

It follows the recent controversial AHIPP email offensive masterminded by Luther. The lobbying drive was described by top Tory Grant Shapps as ‘one of the most crass examples of public affairs I have ever seen from a lobbying company’.

That story emerged yesterday. Today, I hear that director general Mike Ockenden has called Shapps’ office to protest his innocence.

He has also attempted to distance himself from the whole thing with a statement put out earlier today. It states: ‘We were suddenly informed by Pendragon that they wanted to terminate our contract on the 18th of February.  Subsequently they then sent out letters they drafted, on our behalf, to all Tory MPs but sent the wrong letters to the wrong recipients.’

Meanwhile, Luther Pendragon has given a bit more detail on what actually happended:

‘As part of honouring our contractual notice period and continuing to deliver a service to the client these letters were sent from a company email address. These were signed by the client, expressed their views and were sent out at their request. Due to a technical error by Luther Pendragon some of the letters did not take account of those who had engaged on the issue…

‘In this instance, we were acting as a functionary on behalf of a client passing on their views to relevant political stakeholders. However, due to a one-off administrative error the communication was sent out directly from us, rather than from the client themselves.’

Those pesky administrative errors, eh?!

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