I’ve posted a question over at Charlotte Gore’s blog today, under a guest post there by Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon:

“While we’re on the subject of ethics, and vested interests in the sex industry debate, could Belinda Brooks-Gordon clarify whether or not it’s just pure coincidence that she was employed by political lobbyists Foresight Consulting during the precise same period – Sep 2008 to Feb 2009, that Stringfellow Restaurants commissioned the firm to

“protect Stringfellows’ business interests during the passage of the Policing & Crime Bill with particular respect to government’s proposed intent to tighten the law on table side dancing establishments.”

And if it was just coincidence, does Belinda not agree that working as a “Public Policy Consultant” for a lobbying firm which represents high-profile figures in the so-called “adult entertainment” industry somewhat undermines her credibility in this debate?”

For anyone who’s confused by my question, here’s the announcement by Foresight Consulting from December 2008 regarding Stringfellows:

December 2008

Foresight Commissioned

As the credit crisis continues to unfold, Foresight has been hired by Eliot Advisors to provide political insight and analyse on financial policy issues.

Foresight has also been hired to protect Stringfellows’ business interests during the passage of the Policing & Crime Bill with particular respect to government’s proposed intent to tighten the law on table side dancing establishments.

And here’s the APPC register (APPC = Association of Professional Political Consultants) for Foresight Consulting covering the period 1st September 2008 – 30th November 2008 where Brooks-Gordon is listed among the “Staff (employed and sub-contracted) providing PA consultancy services this quarter” and where Stringfellows Restaurants is listed as one of the “Fee-Paying clients for whom UK PA consultancy services provided this quarter.” And here’s the APPC register for the period 1st December 2008 – 28th February 2009, which shows the same.

Maybe it is just coincidence, but the APPC registers for the periods before 1st September 2008 and after 28th February 2009 have neither Belinda Brooks-Gordon ‘nor Stringfellows Restaurants listed. So it seems Belinda Brooks-Gordon was employed by Foresight Consulting during exactly the same period that Stringfellows Restaurants were hiring the lobbyists to look after their business interests in the lap-dancing debate.

Readers may remember that it was in November 2008, during the period both parties were listed in the APPC register, that Peter Stringfellow gave evidence to the Parliamentary Committee on the proposals to tighten up the licensing of lap dancing clubs.

Foresight Consulting:

“is an innovative, independent public affairs company with extensive experience of Parliament, Whitehall and the policy process. We offer our clients unique insights into the workings of government, working with them to present their case effectively and successfully.

The company was established in 2001 by former Downing Street adviser, Mark Adams, who is the most senior former civil servant in political consultancy. Our team includes highly qualified consultants with experience at the heart of political parties, and at the centre of government, including ministerial office.”

Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it hypocritical in the extreme that someone who regularly accuses others of a lack of neutrality in the so-called sex-work debate has been sub-contracted and paid as a consultant by a firm which takes money from a high-ranking figure in the sex-industry. Where precisely is the impartiality in that?

For more on Foresight Consulting, aka Foresight Communications Ltd, see here, and here, and here, and here.