The real scandal is not Fox's contribution to building the Tory ineptocracy. It's the secret cash for access. I asked this oral question yesterday to the Leader of the House. That was before today's extraordinay allegations of cash for access from NHS privateers to Health Supremo Andrew Lansley.
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): May we have a debate to congratulate the Prime Minister on his wisdom in forecasting, just before the election, that the next major scandal affecting the House would involve lobbying? Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has done nothing about introducing his promised register.
Is this matter not quite separate from the inquiry into the Defence Secretary? Appalling accusations have been made that major lobbyists representing extreme views paid an individual who was not registered as a lobbyist, did not register any interests and did not undergo any security checks, but nevertheless gained access to the top discussions in this country and abroad. That dreadful situation requires an urgent debate and legislation.
Sir George Young: The previous Government totally ignored the Public Administration Committee’s recommendation to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists; they did absolutely nothing. We have given a coalition commitment to introduce such a register, as the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Forest of Dean (Mr Harper) confirmed from the Dispatch Box on Tuesday. He will publish a comprehensive consultation so that the widest range of views can be debated.
There is some truth in what George says. The last Government response to the PASC report, part of which I wrote, was not a strong one. Better luck this time.