Tory MP Robin Walker denies political lobbying through Finsbury Ltd employment
PUBLISHED: 07:20 08 November 2011
» A Tory MP has defended his employment with a Finsbury lobbying firm in light of the Liam Fox row.
Robin Walker, Conservative MP for Worcester, who is employed by Finsbury Ltd, Moorfields, denied he is involved in political work for the company.
Defence secretary Mr Fox resigned over controversy about the role of a personal friend and lobbyist Adam Werrity in Ministry of Defence (MOD) business – and calls are growing for a statutory register of lobbyists.
Mr Walker, who worked at Finsbury Ltd for seven years before he was elected last year, receives £2,500 a month for 10 hours employment providing advice to clients such as mining firm Rio Tinto.
Defending his role, he said: “I have always worked on the financial PR side. I did this before getting into politics and if elected I stated that I would like to continue.
“It is purely in financial communications. There’s no question of any political work. It is a shame that this has been cooked up.”
Mr Walker has declared his earnings from Finsbury Ltd in the Parliament’s Register of Members’ Interests.
Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, said: “If you’re doing PR for a company that is involved in government contracts then quite clearly your aim to is to influence government decisions in line with your interests.”
Finsbury Ltd, which has offices in Brussels, Dubai and New York, offers advice to businesses on financial communications, investor relations and politics.
The Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) code of conduct states political consultants can’t employ or pay MPs.
A spokesman for Finsbury Ltd said: “It is for the PRCA to investigate any complaint, but we do not believe we have broken any rules.
“As political consultants under the terms of Clause 8 of the PRCA code, we list all our clients and personnel on that side of our business and we do not retain any MPs for political purposes.
“Robin Walker is retained on a limited part-time basis solely on the PR side of our business.”
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