IAmA corporate lobbyist in the UK. AMAA

How much of an influence do you think lobbying has on politics?

That's a really broad question and possibly not one I'm qualified to answer. What I would say is that from a constituency point of view, MPs exist to be lobbied - by people and businesses in their constituencies - to make representation in Parliament on relevant issues.

My experience is that there are some issues that politicians can be persuaded on but many more fundamental ones that they can't be. They're no different to normal people. There's also powerful party mechanics that dictate policy more powerfully than lobbying ever could.

Do you think it's fair that the more money someone has the more ability they have to influence political decision making?

Generally no, but with some important and heavy caveats.

I think it's completely right and proper that businesses should talk to politicians who regulate and tax them, in exactly the same way that people do. And it costs money for them to do that - so spending money on it is unavoidable and it's not wrong.

And big businesses generally need to have more conversations with Government than small ones, so they generally spend more money on it. I don't think they are, relative to the importance of their operations, generally more influential.

I'd also say that we live in a system where money buys everything. If you don't like that money gets you more of lobbying, you shouldn't really like that it gets you more of anything.

How hard would it be to end the practice of paid lobbying given that there would be a lot of lobbying against it?

It'd be hard primarily because it serves a crucial purpose - lobbyists are the go-betweens for business (and other groups - charities, campaign groups etc) and Government. Those two camps need to speak a lot and we're the people who do that.

The Government introduced a register of lobbyists (which I'm on) in an effort to regulate the industry more, and the industry worked collaboratively with the Government on that. But trying to ban lobbying would be unworkable and damaging.

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