Leading local Liberal Democrat campaigner Ann Holtom has strongly backed Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in his call to regulate lobbying by introducing a register of lobbyists and forcing greater transparency. The move comes after Conservative MP Patrick Mercer has resigned the Tory whip after allegations by the BBC that he had broken the lobbying rules and his announcement that he won't be standing at the next general election.
Talking to Liberal Democrats in Erdington, Ann Holtom said, "Lobbyists are organisations or individuals paid to influence government decisions. Many are former politicians or civil servants who know the people in power. First there was Liam Fox, now Patrick Mercer. Before the last election Mr Cameron said of lobbying "It is the next big scandal waiting to happen" but despite putting lobbying reform in the Coalition agreement, Cameron will not agree to Nick Clegg's call to introduce it. What is the Conservative Party afraid of? I fully agree with Nick Clegg's statement that we need to just honour what we said in the coalition agreement... Like everything in politics, the more open and transparent you can be the better."