Newington Communications investigates potential industry code breach
‘Unblock the Embankment’ wants to re-route the cycle superhighway on Albert Embankment
Newington Communications is to examine whether it has properly declared a client behind a lobbying to abolish London’s flagship cycle superhighway.
Mark Glover’s agency has admitted “a lack of clarity and transparency on the funding of a campaign for which one of our associates has been providing counsel”.
The campaign in question, Unblock the Embankment, calls itself a “group of businesses and road users” calling for a “sensible re-route” of the superhighway.
Writing on The Guardian website on Friday, Andrew Gilligan expressed concern over their activity. “Behind the scenes, a powerful property company, Canary Wharf Group, is working with a political lobbying firm and major road organisations on a campaign to get it ripped out,” he stated.
He added that few details about the campaign's backers appareared in their website. “Unblock The Embankment, it turns out, is run by the lobbying firm Newington Communications. Its co-ordinator, Newington’s Tony Halmos, told me that the clients are Canary Wharf, the only major business, along with the London Chamber of Commerce, the Road Haulage Association, the Confederation of Passenger Transport, which represents coach operators, and the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, among others. Canary Wharf did not respond to a request for comment," he wrote.
Newington boss Glover, a former APPC chair, responded within hours of the article going live to say that he was looking in a potential code breach. His response was first reported in Friday's lobbying lowdown email memo.
He said: “It has come to our attention that there is a lack of clarity and transparency on the funding of a campaign for which one of our associates has been providing counsel. As a proud founding member of the newly unified voice of the industry, the PRCA Public Affairs Board, we abide by the Public Affairs Code and declare all our clients on the Public Affairs Register.
“As a matter of principle, where we are made aware of a potential breach of the Code, we take this extremely seriously. We have notified the Public Affairs Board that there may have been a breach of the Code and that we are undertaking an internal investigation as a matter of urgency to understand the facts. Once we have the full facts we will make a further statement outlining any actions we will be taking.”