Sleaze or clear blue water: the evolution of corporate and pressure group representation at the major UK party conferences
Harris, Phil; Lock, Andrew
There has been growing academic and public interest in corporate political lobbying in both the UK and EU in recent years. In Britain, links between politicians and commercial interests have been one of the areas examined by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (“the Nolan Committee” and now “the Neill Committee”). A visible but under-researched aspect of political lobbying by firms and other groups is the range of activities that take place at annual party conferences. We report an exhaustive study of these activities at the three main British party conferences between 1994-97, covering the period from Tony Blair’s first appearance as party leader to the aftermath of the 1997 General Election. There is clear growth of visible lobbying, particularly at the Labour conferences, over the period leading up to the election, and a dropping off in 1997, particularly at the Conservative conference. The implications of the results for organisations, and particularly for public affairs practitioners, are considered.
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Discussion Paper