At his news conference this morning, Conservative Leader David Cameron railed against the influence of lobbyists saying that the political system is 'looking more broken than ever'. So where does that leave George Eustice, the man who wants to be the Tory MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, is a former senior Tory advisor and now lobbies for Coca Cola and Vodaphone among others.
Setting aside the claim by Mr Eustice that lobbying is a 'real job in the real world', the question that strikes me is how will he accommodate his business interests if he were to be elected. Mr Cameron says that backbench MPs should be allowed to keep in touch with the real world by having outside jobs. But he made it quite clear that these could not include lobbying. So presumably Mr Eustice would have to give up his lobbying job if he were elected.
Mr Cameron also wants to double the time between MPs leaving Parliament and being able to take up lobbying jobs to two years. That's fine and dandy. But shouldn't the reverse also be true to some extent. Lobbyists who come into Parliament (even if they formally give up the job) will still have a set of clients whose accounts they have worked on assiduously and whose interests they have been paid to further.
So let's have a new rule that says that, if elected, former lobbyists need to declare all the companies and organisations they have worked for and they should be banned from raising or voting on any issues that affect those former clients for the same two year period.