A lobbying firm is under pressure to reverse its decision to hand a job to Ian Duncan while the peer remains deputy speaker in the House of Lords.
Edinburgh-based Charlotte Street Partners was told it was “simply wrong” to make former Conservative minister Lord Duncan a consulting partner while he continued to serve as a legislator.
The move was criticised by both the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) trade body and the Association for Scottish Public Affairs (ASPA).
Lord Duncan, who grew up in Alyth, Perthshire, is a former MEP who served as a junior minister in the UK Government’s Scotland Office, as well as in the Welsh Office and Northern Ireland Office.
Charlotte Street Partners was founded by former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson and former BAA communications director Malcolm Robertson in 2014.
‘You cannot be a legislator and a lobbyist’
Liam Herbert MPRCA, PRCA public affairs committee chairman, said: “It is simply wrong for lobbying firms to employ members of the House of Lords, and unthinkable that the deputy speaker of the Lords himself would think it appropriate to accept such a job.
“The PRCA Public Affairs Code is crystal clear – you cannot be a legislator and a lobbyist. You have to pick one or the other.”
Francis Ingham MPRCA, PRCA director general, said: “While I am aware that Charlotte Street Partners has chosen not to be covered by any code of conduct, I would nonetheless urge them to do the ethical thing, and to rethink this incredibly unwise appointment, which brings the House of Lords into disrepute.”
‘You cannot be both’
Meanwhile, Insider.co.uk reported ASPA convener Peter Duncan as saying: “ASPA is absolutely clear – you can be a lobbyist or you can be a law maker, but you cannot be both.
“Our code of conduct makes the position completely clear, and as a result Charlotte Street Partners will no longer be entitled to membership of our association.
“Their details are being removed from our website – we will not compromise on our high standards.”
This is fully compliant with ACOBA guidance, which makes clear that he is not permitted to undertake any lobbying, which was never the intention.”
Charlotte Street Partners
A spokesman for Charlotte Street Partners told the business publication that the appointment had been approved by the UK Government’s Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba).
“His work for us, as a strategic consultancy, will focus on analysis and advice relating to the European Union, and on environmental matters.
“This is fully compliant with Acoba guidance, which makes clear that he is not permitted to undertake any lobbying, which was never the intention.”