Eustice under pressure on lobbying

A screen shot of the website giving George Eustices email address as george.eustice@conservatives.com

A screen shot of the website giving George Eustice's email address as george.eustice@conservatives.com (taken on April 26th 2010)

Yesterday, George Eustice, the parliamentary candidate for Camborne and Redruth bad-mouthed a local 38 Degrees campaign. For the last few months Eustice has been under growing pressure from the successful grassroots campaign to ban of secret lobbying. Now all the local election candidates, except Eustice, back the ban.

In his blog “The first rule of online lobbying: get the email right” Eustice claims he has received no emails from local members about the campaign due to 38 Degrees’ incompetence in spelling his “email address wrongly on their system“.

If we made a mistake we’d be the first to admit it. We expect George to do the same.

George is clearly under pressure and his rambling blog post makes various factual errors. The email address we used for George (george.eustice@conservatives.com) wasn’t misspelled, it came from the Conservative website as we told him on Saturday.

In his blog he attempts to dismiss the campaign claiming “there are already strict rules that mean MPs must declare all their financial interests from clients to directorships and major shareholdings.”

This exposes a deep lack of understanding of the campaign to ban secret lobbying. The local campaign calls for a statutory register of lobbyists interests, as recommended by the Parliamentary Public Administration Select Committee. The Committee stated that this must include:
*names of lobbyists
* who they are working for
* any previous employment in the public sector
* which decisions they are trying to influence

George disagrees with the parliamentary committee saying “When it comes to so called “lobbying”, the answer is to make sure that any financial interests of MPs are declared so there is no conflict of interest.” It seems he has misunderstood our campaign. The register is intended to let the public know what is going on behind closed doors in Westminster. If the expenses scandal has taught us one thing, it is that we can’t just trust our MPs to do the right thing: we need transparency so we know they’re doing the right thing.

If you think it’s time to clean up politics and ban secret lobbying sign the petition to George here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/george-ban-secret-lobbying

Update: Spinwatch respond to Eustice

SpinWatch have responded to Eustice’s blog. Below is an extract. You can read the full article at: http://www.spinwatch.org/

He writes on his blog how he heard there was to be an online lobbying campaign against him, initiated by “a girl called Tamasin Cave, a political  activist who writes regularly for Lib Dem blogs”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Tamasin, a Spinwatch director – who is nearly 40 should  that be of interest to anyone – is in regular touch with bloggers from Left Foot Forward to Guido Fawkes.

Attempting to tie the Spinwatch campaign to Lib Dem activism is, well, the kind of obfuscatory tactic one would expect from a professional lobbyist.

And it’s clearly sticking. When Spinwatch recently spoke to the Falmouth Packet, a local paper covering Camborne, the reporter asked whether we were linked to the Lib Dems.

No, the simple truth is this campaign has focused on the Tories because they have the largest number of PPCs who are professional lobbyists. We believe this is the reason why the Conservatives remain alone among the main parties in refusing to sign up to a statutory register of lobbyists.