Anorak

Anorak | Bell Pottinger PR Disaster: Lobbying Firm Caught On Camera Boasting Of Dark Arts And Cameron Access (Transcript)

Bell Pottinger PR Disaster: Lobbying Firm Caught On Camera Boasting Of Dark Arts And Cameron Access (Transcript)

by | 6th, December 2011

THE wonderfully named Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that it once set up meetings with Bell Pottinger, the big PR firm. The Bureau set up as a client from Uzbekistan. The fake Azimov Group was a bunch of British and eastern European investors with ties to the Uzbekistan government.

Two meetings took place in June and July 2011. The reporters met with Tim Collins, managing director of Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, David Wilson, chairman of Bell Pottinger Public Relations, and former diplomat Sir David Richmond, who works for the firm’s “strategic communications and geopolitical” specialist arm, Bell Pottinger Sans Frontières.

The shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, says:

“We have been calling on the government to implement a statutory register of lobbyists. We need reform to ensure that there is no question of the rich and powerful buying access to the prime minister and his advisers.”

A Downing Street spokesman replies:

“Bell Pottinger nor any other lobbying firm has any say or influence over government policy.”

The Transcript:

Tim Collins: “I’m Tim Collins. I was in the Conservative research department with David Cameron and George Osborne, I was later press secretary to John Major, director of communications for the Conservative Party. Then I went into Parliament, and I was in the Shadow Cabinet under two or three leaders, again with David Cameron and George Osborne, and I run the public-affairs side of the Bell Pottinger business… I’ve been working with people like Steve Hilton, David Cameron, George Osborne, for 20 years-plus.

“Edward Llewellyn, who’s the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, was my deputy in Central Office for a long time. Steve Hilton was my deputy in a different capacity. I know all these people. There is not a problem in getting the messages through to them.

“… James Arbuthnot, for example, is the chair of the Defence Select Committee. When I was an opposition whip he was a chief whip, so he and I know each other very well. Rory Stewart is a very high-profile Member of Parliament because he’s got a very strong interest in Central Asian issues; he represents the constituency that is next to mine when I was a Member of Parliament, so I know him.

“… Just as a final example just for you… I’m not saying we can always do this but just as an example of what we can sometimes do. Three weeks ago, we were rung up at 2.30 on a Friday afternoon by one of our clients, Dyson… They rang up and they said look, we’ve got a huge issue, and that is that a lot of our products are being completely ripped off in China, to the point where they’re not just completely duplicating the product… (The) Chinese government won’t take it seriously, it’s half past two on a Friday afternoon. On Saturday, the Chinese Prime Minister is coming in for a UK visit can you please get the UK to raise it?

“… And I’m pleased to say that on the Saturday, David Cameron raised it with the Chinese Prime Minister and showed him the photos of the products. I’m not saying we can do that all the time but that is an illustration of what, if you have the right message David Cameron, yes he was doing it for Dyson, yes he was doing it because we asked him to do it, he was doing this also because he thought this was also in the UK wider national interest. This was something where there would be a UK proper interest. But in terms of very fast turnaround and getting things done right at the top of government, if you’ve got the right message, yes, we can do it.”

Sri Lanka

David Wilson: “We had a team working in the President’s office, we wrote the President’s speech to the UN last year, which was very well received. We were writing a speech at the same time as [President Rajapaksa] was asking his foreign office to write a speech as well, and he chose to use

You have already read 1 premium article for free today
Access immediately the premium content with Multipass

Or come back tomorrow



Posted: 6th, December 2011 | In: Politicians Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink