Mike Craven is a founding partner of PR and lobbying company Lexington Communications. He is a former Labour Party adviser.
Craven is a former adviser to Labour MP John Prescott during the 1980s, and was Labour Party Chief Media Officer in 1998. He is also a former managing director of lobby firm GPC Market Access (Chief Lobbyist for British Airways (BA)) until March 1997, leaving to start Lexington Communications in 1998 with money from Lord Stevenson (their first major clients were BA). He helped to write Prescott's transport White Paper in July 1998 and was due to return to help with the 2001 election, but pulled out to avoid more 'cash for access' scandals (other clients include Novartis, the GM food company).
Craven joined Market Access in 1988 and became its managing director in the mid-1990s. While Craven was in charge, GPC Market Access was hired by SmithKline Beecham to support the SmithKline Beecham-funded lobbying of patient interest groups, notably the Genetic Interest Group, over the proposed Directive on the Legal Protection of Biotechnological Inventions (popularly known as the Patents on Life Directive). The Directive was eventually passed after heavy lobbying and despite widespread public opposition. GPC Market Access was accused of having waged a 'massive disinformation campaign' in the process. As well as SmithKline Beecham, GPC's clients included Pfizer and Novartis.
In 1997 Mike Craven left GPC to become Labour Party Chief Media Officer. He replaced David Hill who left to become a director of Good Relations (part of the Bell Pottinger PR group), whose clients include Monsanto.
A few months after Craven's departure, in July 1998, GPC was at the centre of the lobbygate 'cash for access' scandal. The journalist Greg Palast exposed the scandal of 'secretive business influence over policy-making', revealing how New Labour lobbyists such as Derek Draper were 'working to create a US-style interpenetration of corporations and government'. (The Best Democracy Money Can Buy)
In November 1998 Craven was joined by 3 GPC Market Access staffers when he started up Lexington Communications. In January 2003 Craven hired Bernard Marantelli, a PR operative from Monsanto, to help Lexington in its work for the ABC in the run up to the UK Government's decision on whether to allow GM crop commercialisation.
GM lobby clients
- Parliament.uk Liz Kendall, accessed 21 July 2015.