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RIBA steps up its assault on the corridors of power

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Jonathan Labrey, a 26-year old lobbyist and former Tory party advisor, has been picked to represent the riba at government level.

Labrey will take up the brand new position of government liaison officer on 6 April and will immediately start work carrying the riba flag in the Houses of Parliament and across key government departments.

His appointment coincides with the establishment of a high powered parliamentary group on architecture spearheaded by Lord Rogers and Lord Foster. The group, dubbed the Associated Party Group on Architecture, Planning and the Built Environment, will include parliamentarians from both houses as well as other interest groups.

The two Lords held a preliminary meeting this month and are recruiting members to the committee in time for an official launch of the group in late May.

The move is a clear attempt to boost the presence of architecture in the highest government circles where Lord Rogers has already admitted it is inadequately represented.

'The riba has been conspicuous by its absence at government level and we need to sharpen up our act. Until we can prove we are of real value, a politician won't stop in the street for us,' he said at a meeting to consider strategies for lobbying the new London mayor last month.

Labrey, who will act as secretary to the new group, currently works as a lobbyist for apco uk whose clients include telecommunications giant ntl and chemist retailer Lloyds as well as the British Entertainment and Discotheque Association.

He previously worked as a researcher for Conservative mps Edwina Currie, Peter Luff and the late Michael Colvin and was campaign manager for Kenneth Clarke's bid for leadership of the Conservative Party in 1997. Labrey lists art, architecture, wine tasting and history as his interests. The position was advertised at a salary of between £25,000 and £35,000.

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