Standards watchdog 'to recommend five year lobbying ban for ministers'

Independent standards watchdog ‘will recommend up to five year lobbying ban for ministers when they leave power’ in wake of David Cameron Greensill row

  • Independent Committee on Standards in Public Life making recommendations
  • The watchdog is set to call for lobbying ban for ex-ministers of up to five years 
  • Proposed changes come in wake of the David Cameron Greensill lobbying row 

Ministers will be banned from political lobbying for up to five years after leaving power under reforms set to be recommended by an independent watchdog, it was claimed today. 

The Committee on Standards in Public Life will call for changes to be made to the current rules in the wake of the David Cameron Greensill lobbying row. 

The body advises the prime minister on upholding ethical standards and its chairman, Lord Evans, will publish the findings of an emergency review of lobbying guidelines tomorrow, according to The Sunday Times.

Lord Evans’s report will demand an overhaul aimed at preventing ex-ministers using their contacts and expertise for personal gain.

The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life will reportedly call for changes to be made to the current rules in the wake of the David Cameron Greensill lobbying row

A report will demand that ministers must be required to ‘disclose informal lobbying over WhatsApp and text messages’

The report will ‘single out David Cameron’, under whom Lord Evans served as MI5 chief for three years, in concluding that the current rules are ‘inadequate’.

It will demand that ministers must be required to ‘disclose informal lobbying over WhatsApp and text messages’. 

Lord Evans’s interim report will also recommend introducing anti-lobbying clauses to the employment contracts of ministers, special advisers and civil servants, as well as a system of possible civil penalties for rule breakers.

Other recommendations including banning ministers ‘from taking jobs for two years in sectors over which they had direct responsibility in office’, and giving the appointments watchdog power to apply tailored restrictions, including banning ex-ministers from taking certain jobs for up to five years ‘where appropriate’.   

The Government would also be made to release details of lobbying every four weeks, rather than quarterly, and regulate the appointment of non-executive directors to Whitehall departments to prevent politicians appointing ‘cronies’. 

Lord Evans will reportedly tell this evening’s BBC Radio 4 Westminster Hour programme: ‘I do think there needs to be greater transparency about lobbying. 

‘There’s nothing wrong with lobbying in principle, but there needs to be a level playing field and it needs to be done visibly.’

Mr Cameron became embroiled in a lobbying controversy after revelations earlier this year that he texted Chancellor Rishi Runak on behalf of Greensill Capital, a finance firm which employed him.

It was also revealed Mr Cameron sent a succession of WhatsApp messages to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and other ministers over access to coronavirus loan schemes. 

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