I can recall Cameron promising back in May 2010 to tighten up the rules on lobbying, predicting it was 'the next big scandal waiting to happen.' Since then we have seen lobbyists being hyperactive in seeking to hive off parts of the NHS and remove planning laws to make the work of developers much easier. If we look over the Atlantic we see a government operation which is so in the thrall of lobbyists that legislation to control the sale of firearms was derailed despite the fact that 90% of Americans were in favour of such measures.
The revelation that Sir Patrick Mercer, plus three peers were willing to take money in exchange for lobbying on behalf of an autocratic government, is disappointing and an indictment of promises made but unfulfilled. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, suggested it was the fault of Nick Clegg who is in charge of constitutional reform, and in theory the lead minister.
But my suspicion is that the Tories are not too unfriendly to the knock on the door from their friendly lobbyist and that this measure, so anticipated by the PM himself, has been nudged onto the back burner. Now suddenly, when it's too late, the government are galvanised into promising something they should have done ages ago This is yet further evidence that this government has long ago lost its way and is desperately flailing to regain credibility.