20 January 2012 10:49 AM

Crow's anger on lobbyist list

Ministers are publishing their long-awaited plans for a register of lobbyists today - a bid to crackdown on what David Cameron described as "the next big scandal waiting to happen".

It looks set to cast the net fairly wide, possibly bringing trade unions and big charities within its remit.

While the TUC are broadly supportive, Tube union boss Bob Crow is rather less so.

In brilliantly colourful language, he said: "The idea that trade unions, representing millions of workers up and down the country, should be bracketed in with the chancers and shmoozers from the shadowy world of political lobbying is a gross insult to men and women fighting for a fair deal in the workplace.

"This is just another blatant ConDem attack on the trade union movement and shows complete and utter contempt for the role we play in protecting working people from the savagery of casino capitalism."

UPDATE: PRCA, the professional body for public affairs consultancies, have hit back at Bob Crow.
“Bob Crow’s plea for trade unions to receive special favours is self-interest at its most naked form," chief executive Francis Ingham said.

"Just as the CBI employs a whole floor of lobbyists, so too the TUC has a significant lobbying operation. When trade union employees meet ministers and civil servants and try to influence legislation, they are lobbyists. It is that simple, and for a mandatory register to work, it must cover charities, business groups, think tanks, lawyers and yes, trade unions too.”

Incidentally, Labour are far from impressed with the proposals which look to have a fair few shortcomings in them at the moment (not least the lack of a statutory code of conduct).

Jon Trickett had this to say of the document: "It is so full of loopholes it makes you wonder whether it's worth doing...

"It is a massively open barn door which people can drive several coach and horses through.

"It's extremely weak and very disappointing and unless it is tightened up then it leaves the scope for further scandals to emerge in future."

Craig Woodhouse
Follow me on Twitter @craigawoodhouse


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Greg Tingey

Pot, meet Kettle.
Kettle, this is Pot


I think Bob Crow is spot on here.

A millionaire business owner can pay for lobbyists for his own ends - eg to reduce business costs through cutting H&S, reducing benefits or restrictions on what can be sold. He is accountable to nobody.

A union will have thousands of members who each pay a small amount each month to the union they choose to be in, so that collectively through their union - where they put their demands democratically through a branch - these issues can be pursued by lobbyists.

A very different thing indeed.

It's like saying the Tories being supported by a handful of millionaires is the same as the Labour Party being supported by millions of people who again pay a small amount each month to a union they choose to be in.

des egan

Surely we should be looking at foreign country's lobby groups that operate in this country such as "friends of Israel." We have recently had two high profile cases of this political lobby group, the second largest in the world only being smaller than AIPAC in America, to two of our most senior cabinet ministers. Mr Hague in excess of £38,000 and Mr Fox £146,000. Why would this political organisation give these two men such large amounts of money?

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