The UK parliament has a long record of lobbying scandals, as influential people paid lobby groups to exert efforts in influencing legislations in their favour. However, there seems to be no end in sight for the series of lobbying scandals that frequently rock the UK parliament. The situation leaves many British entrepreneurs apprehensive over potential laws that could negatively affect their business.
Up until recently, the Committee on Standards in Public Life, an independent standards committee in the UK government, has been calling on members of the Parliament to shut down a group of MPs called “All-Party Parliamentary Group” (APPG). It’s a cross-party group of MPs coming from both the House of Lords and the House of Commons but has no official status as far as the UK Parliament is concerned.
The Standards Committee is calling for the abolition of the APPG as the members, albeit registered, are clearly demonstrating conflict of interests. They are first and foremost public servants whose primary function is to help legislate policies that work for the good of the general public Receiving substantial remunerations from private companies through lobby firms has been the root of most lobbying scandals in the UK parliament.
The Ethics of Lobbying or the Lack of It in the UK Parliament
Today, lobbying has become a big business that enable the privileged to access Members of the Parliament (MPs). It’s widely believed that those who cannot afford to pay for lobbying services have slim chances of having their business concerns addressed through the formation of laws.
The term “lobbying” stems from the occasions when MPs gather in the lobby of the Palace of Westminster, which makes it possible for an individual or a group of people to approach and persuade powerful MPs to support or vote for a particular policy or legislation.
- Despite the scandals and the subsequent resignations of the MPs involved, the lobbying industry has been rapidly flourishing since the 1990s. While it was estimated in 2007 that the industry was worth £1.9 billion, new 2022 released in data indicates that the interest groups APPG received as much as GBP13 million from private firms; apparently satisfied with the results of lobbying activities during the year.