In an email sent by Mark Hynes, the Director of Corporate Affairs at Lambeth Council, Cllr’s are advised:
“Further to your query as to whether members should be formally declaring membership of Progress, my advice is that they should given that Progress is an organisation which falls under the definition of ‘bodies designed to influence opinion or policy’.”
At least seven out of ten of the current Cabinet at Lambeth Council are Progress members. The advice from the Director of Corporate Affairs raises the possibility that Cabinet members are serving as Progress representatives, rather than as elected Labour Cllr’s.
‘Apolitical’ Council officers who also help shape policy at the Town Hall, are not required to state if they have any outside interests such as membership of Progress.
In 2012 an internal Labour party report questioned if Progress was an acceptable organisation within the party. Lord Sainsbury has been propping up Progress with funding worth £260,000 a year.
The right wing group is strongest in Lambeth. All three Constituency Labour Parties backed the Blairite Liz Kendall in the Labour leadership election last year. Members of the Lambeth Cabinet invited the failed candidate to speak to local Progress members at the Town Hall.