Leading Labour lobbyists are still stuck in 1997, rivals claim
Senior figures are accused of 'pushing out materials and advice from the 1997 general election'.
Established public affairs agencies are run by figures who do not understand the current Labour party and are “trading on former glories”, it has been alleged.
Two Labour-supporting lobbying bosses told Public Affairs News that many of their rivals were not equipped to do business with Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
PLMR chief executive Kevin Craig said he had backed Corbyn to be Labour leader and was "not scared" of his agenda. But he reported a high degree of hostility and nervousness at many of his rivals.
"There is an issue that many agencies have no understanding of Jeremy Corbyn, Momentum, trade unions," said Craig.
He added: "They don’t understand what’s going on at the grassroots of British politics. So they are advising clients on the Labour party and the Labour movement and their knowledge of it is based on what’s in the media or easily Googleable."
Former Portland director Kevin McKeever also said that too many Labour-supporting lobbyists were still stuck in the past and needed to move on from a New Labour mindset.
McKeever stood as Labour’s candidate for Northampton South in the 2017 general election and now runs his own consultancy, Lowick.
"I think there’s a sense that many of the long-standing names in the industry, the stars of public affairs, have personal politics that are firmly rooted in the 97 generation," said the ex-Portland lobbyist.
He added: "We’ve still got some people pushing out materials and advice from the 1997 general election when people like me were still at school. I think the industry has some really impressive elements to it and other who are perhaps trading on former glories."
Craig and McKeever both spoke to PAN as part of an in-depth feature about how lobbyists are "doing Labour again".