Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK Politics
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Talking Politics 
Mayor News 
Government Guide 
Diary 
People in Parliament 
A-Z of Parliament 
Political Links 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Thursday, 16 December, 1999, 16:40 GMT
Campbell should face cameras says Kennedy

parliament The lobby is a well-established Westminster tradition


Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy has called for the Westminster lobby system to be scrapped.

At a Commons press gallery lunch, Mr Kennedy said the system enabling on and off the record briefings by government spokesmen and ministers was no longer "tenable".


Charles Kennedy: Plea for greater openness
Mr Kennedy called on the prime minister's press secretary, Alastair Campbell, to hold his daily press conferences for lobby journalists on camera for use on television news.

The Lib Dem leader said he did not understand why, at a time when there was a move towards greater freedom of information, the government would not become more open and responsive in this area.

"The quicker we get rid of the lobby system the better for all of us," he told journalists.

"I don't think in this day and age it is tenable to have these nods and winks, and on-the-record and off-the-record briefings."

"If we can ditch the lobby system, that would be a very healthy step indeed."


campbell Alastair Campbell: Daily briefings behind closed doors
The lobby is the name given to a small group of parliamentary journalists who enjoy privileged access to certain parts of Parliament.

One of the main privileges is the right to enter the Members' Lobby at Westminster in order to interview MPs.

Information passed to journalists in these circumstances is often given on the understanding that the source will not be revealed.

Critics say the system makes it easier for the government to get away with putting a misleading slant on embarrassing stories or to make unfounded attacks on its enemies.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

See also:
19 May 98 |  H-L
Lobby System
08 Jul 99 |  UK Politics
'Faceless wonders' attacked - sources
22 Feb 99 |  UK Politics
Labour's media obsession
19 Apr 99 |  UK Politics
Campbell's Nato role

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories