The CIPR and PRCA have both commented on the issue of party funding and lobbying, following Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas resigning after it was revealed he offered access to David Cameron and the chance to influence policy in exchange for donations.
A CIPR spokesperson said: “The CIPR acknowledges that influencing public policy is a sensitive issue, however this story focuses on issues of party funding and access.
“The CIPR strongly condemns the notion that cash can gain access to policy makers. Public affairs professionals know the limits of influence, and that a well argued policy paper sent to Whitehall and Westminster is far more effective than a photograph with the Prime Minister or contact with the No. 10 policy unit. The latter access can be achieved through hard work, a well-written argument and knowledge of how policy making really works.
“CIPR members abide by the core principals of ethical practice and transparency in the Institute's code of conduct, by offering professional counsel on behalf of their clients or employers.
“The CIPR has long argued for universal transparency for all those involved in lobbying activity and we will continue to do so in its formal written response to the Cabinet Office’s proposals to ‘Introduce a Statutory Register of Lobbyists’.”
A PRCA spokesperson said: “The Sunday Times’ story raises profound questions about the nature of our politics. These questions are by no means new, having dogged the previous Government too. Indeed, both Mr Blair and his chief of staff address them directly in their respective memoirs.
“The issue of party funding is vital in any democracy, and clearly needs now to be addressed. But we should not let it distort the debate about the future regulation and registration of lobbying.
“The PRCA view remains the same as it did before yesterday’s story. The Government needs to establish a credible, independent body to hold a register of lobbyists. That register must cover all who lobby –whether they work for multi-client agencies, in-house teams, legal or accountancy firms, trade unions, charities or business groups. The Government should waste no more time in establishing this wide-reaching body. Separately, it should also address the effectiveness of the current codes that cover Ministers and the laws that cover donations.”