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Commercial Lobbyists

Volume 298: debated on Monday 21 July 1997

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To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) on what dates since 1 May (a) Ministers and (b) officials in her Department have met commercial lobbyists to discuss matters relating to the business of her Department; and if she will introduce a register of such meetings; [8051](2) on what dates since 1 May

(a) Ministers and

(b) officials in her Department have attended meetings with organisations representing (i) commercial and (ii) non-commercial interests organised by commercial lobbying firms; and if she will introduce a register of such meetings. [8052]

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister explained in response to the hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn), Official Report, column 99, Ministers and officials in the Department receive deputations from many groups who are concerned to press their own interests or those of their clients, which Ministers and officials take due care to consider within the wider public interest and Government policy. As it is not practicable to distinguish particular groups as lobbyists, the Department cannot keep a register of such meetings.