Friday will see Mark Harper, Cabinet Office minister, unveil a consultation on a statutory register of lobbyists – with the potential for many other groups (unions, law firms etc) required to sign up. I’ve written the news story here.
More quietly, however, a major change is taking place at the House of Lords where officials are tightening up their disclosure criteria on the “register of interests”.
Lord Mandelson will be among scores of peers forced to disclose their business clients for the first time under this quiet rules change.
The Lords authorities have written to about 90 peers, including the former Labour business secretary, asking them to identify the clients of their consultancies.
Brendan Keith, registrar of Lords’ interests, told the FT that the current “loophole” would be closed under which peers only had to name the advisory companies they owned or worked for – and not their clients.
Some members had been “mystified” by the new disclosure rules, which have to be obeyed by January 27, said Mr Keith.
The changes are part of a broader amendment of the code to oblige greater transparency from peers: “The philosophy is one of disclosure and openness,” he said.
Lord Mandelson, who was European trade commissioner before returning to a senior role in Gordon Brown’s government, has set up a ”strategic advice consultancy“ called Global Counsel. WPP, the marketing group, is an investor in the company.