Wednesday, July 15, 1998 Published at 01:10 GMT 02:10 UK
Lobbyists suspended from umbrella body
Parliament: Lobby firms under fire
Two of the parliamentary lobbying firms at the centre of the "cash for access" row have been told to withdraw from their professional association - until an independent inquiry clears their names.
GPC Market Access and GJW, both named in the controversy over lobbyists claiming access to government, told the Association of Professional Political Consultants they had taken action to stop rules being broken.
The association's Michael Burrell, who chaired a three-hour meeting with the two companies, said the firms were granted 24 hours to consult their boards.
Derek Draper, the lobbyist at the centre of the row, lost his job with GPC Market Access after the Observer newspaper said he had offered undercover reporters access to Government "inside information".
GJW has apologised to the House of Commons after it provided an embargoed copy of a select committee report to an undercover reporter posing as a client.
"We felt that it would be appropriate for the two member companies to withdraw from membership while (the audit) was carried out," he said.
"The two companies asked for time to consult their boards. We have given them 24 hours."
The association added that it had a code of conduct which makes all members aware of strict rules covering abuse of institutions and unprofessional claims about ability to influence.
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