London, 22 August 2016
Public Relations and Communications Association
82 Great Suffolk Street
Carolyn Harris MP
House of Commons,
22nd August 2016
Dear Ms Harris,
I am writing to you to express my concern about the recent allegations that you employed Lawrence Bailey, a lobbyist and gave him a parliamentary pass. I would like to remind you of your obligations to behave ethically as this story undermines the reputation of the lobbying industry and the integrity of MPs.
The PRCA’s own code of conduct prohibits our public affairs members from holding a pass as there is a clear conflict of interest. There are also clear parliamentary rules on issuing passes. These rules are in place in the interest of transparency, and we urge MPs and lobbyists to observe them.
Mr Bailey should have never entertained the idea of a parliamentary pass, and as an MP you should have never employed a lobbyist and given him a pass. Situations like this can seriously damage the public’s trust in politics.
We hope that there will be some swift action to clarify the situation. Will this matter be referred to the Commons Authority by yourself? Will Mr. Bailey be questioned as well?
In the interest of best practice and standing up for ethical conduct, this is an open letter and it has gone on our website. It has also been sent to the organisations which published the story.
Mr. Bailey was not one of the Public Relations and Communications Association’s 20,000 members. All our members abide by a strict code of conduct with clear disciplinary procedures for those who transgress but his decision, and your own, will inevitably tarnish the reputation of lobbyists and politicians across the board.
Francis Ingham MPRCA
PRCA Director General
Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 48 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 20,000 people across the whole range of the PR and communications industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.
What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.
How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry's behalf e.g. fighting the NLA's digital licence.
Who we represent: The PRCA currently has more than 400 agency members; 270 in-house PR and communications teams from multinationals, charities and leading public sector organisations; and thousands of individual members.