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Fracking lobbyist writing Tory manifesto

THE Tory Party’s election manifesto is being written by a lobbyist for “the frackers, the tax dodgers and the zero-hour exploiters,” Labour warned today.

Rachel Wolf, a former aide to Michael Gove during his time in the education office, is setting out Conservative policies while continuing to work as a partner at Public First — a business which lobbies ministers on behalf of shale gas industry firms such as Cuadrilla.

Public First also represents the Internet Association, which is the trade body for technology giants such as Uber, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Airbnb, Microsoft and Amazon.

The company lobbies to influence the government’s policies on the web such as the regulation of social media and taxes on digital companies.

Labour’s shadow minister for the Cabinet Office Jon Trickett said: “If ever we needed another reminder that the Tory Party represents the privileged few, this is it.

“It’s an outrage to democracy that the frackers, the tax dodgers and the zero-hour exploiters will have the biggest say when it comes to Tory policy.

“Labour is determined to win an election on a transformational platform for the many and we will be a government that gives ordinary people a proper stake in how this country is run.”

Green Party MEP Gina Dowding said: “It is worrying that in the year that the climate emergency became one of the most pressing issues in the political debate, the Conservatives feel it is appropriate to employ a lobbyist who works for fracking firm Cuadrilla to write their election manifesto.

“Even worse, the lobbyist is a co-founder of the same Tufton Street company that now employs Natascha Engel, the ex-government shale gas commissioner.

“How can the Conservative Party pretend to be taken seriously on the climate when they are inseparable from the most polluting companies on this planet?”

Ms Dowding warned that the Tories “cannot be trusted” on the environment, just as they cannot be trusted with the NHS and workers’ rights.

A spokesperson for Public First said that Ms Wolf is “assisting” the Tory manifesto based on her “long experience of working on Conservative policy,” adding that her political work is “wholly separate” from any commercial arrangements the firm has.

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