Politicians For Hire
Following the scandal surrounding MPs’ expenses, Dispatches delves into the mostly unregulated world of political lobbying. The programme reveals how politicians are offering to help companies and lobby the government for salaries of up to £5,000 a day.Journalist Antony Barnett leads an undercover investigation which examines: “ How senior politicians are seeking to trade on their Westminster connections to earn money from lucrative positions in the private sector.”
Dispatches set up a fictional US public affairs company and contacted several senior politicians and asked them if they were interested in a position on the advisory board of our bogus London office. The programme-makers contacted 20 politicians, 15 agreed to meet and ten were invited in for interviews. Nine of the interviews were filmed secretly and genuine issues of public interest arise from these: the public is entitled to know how retiring politicians see themselves and the services they are offering the corporate and business world in their life after Westminster.Most suggested that our US company’s clients could get privileged access into the corridors of powers; some agreed to help us win government contracts and lobby the right people. Some even boasted about what they have already achieved for private corporate interests while still serving as MPs. Channel Four. TV ratings: Dispatches’ lobbying report watched by almost 1million.