7th May, 2021

David Laws – View on Elections 2021

Statement by Robin Grainger, CEO, GK Strategy:

The activities of a former Prime Minister have been frontpage over recent days and look set to remain so, with several probes and inquiries launched by government and Parliament.

At this time, I want to be clear: At GK, we adhere to the highest ethical standards. We are committed members of our industrys self-regulating bodies, the PRCA and the former Association of Professional Political Consultants. We consistently champion a gold standard for ethical lobbying. We embrace transparency and effective regulation and encourage all those in the industry to do the same.

I am proud of the work GK does as political advisers; to assess political risk, help clients navigate Westminster and Whitehall, and inform and improve public policy making. What we do as strategic advisers isn’t new, and I think it is highly valued. We do this important work whilst complying with and championing ethical standards.

We’re not alone in this. Our industry as a whole has made progress over the past decade to strengthen training, improve its reputation and enforce more robust rules around our ethics.

However, sadly, the actions of a very small number and the resulting ‘lobbying scandals’ are too common. These are mostly, but not exclusively, caused by those operating outside the ethical frameworks set out by industry bodies such as the PRCA (whose members adhere to a code of conduct) and the government’s own regulation.

In addition, current legislation in the UK excludes in-house corporate and charity lobbyists and those current and former politicians who advise independent of political advisory firms. This is not right and I would like this changed. Conversations are taking place about how the legislation to capture those that lobby but fall outside the current rules could be widened.

I want to repeat how seriously GK take our responsibilities and how proud I am of the work we do.