John Lehal

Managing Director of ICG (Insight Consulting Group)

With over fifteen years’ experience in public affairs and politics, John has advised a number of leading companies and organisations on their government relations and communications strategies. A former Parliamentary Candidate, following the 1997 election John worked in Parliament as a Researcher before moving into consultancy. He launched ICG in 2006, having gained extensive experience running UK and international strategic communications programmes.

John frequently speaks at conferences and seminars on issues relating to politics and public policy and has been recognised by Total Politics magazine as one of the UK’s leading lobbyists. He writes regularly for the media on issues such as civil service reform, Parliamentary Committees and public sector reform, including for The Times, Huffington Post, and Public Finance. He writes a column on politics for PR Week and provides pro bono support to several charities.

John chaired an independent Commission on behalf of the PRCA on Diversity & Broadening Access to the PR industry, and the report made 30 recommendations for implementing across the industry. He is a Trustee of Intern Aware: the campaign for fair internships.

'Nothing Is Agreed Until Everything Is Agreed' - The Monumental Task Is Ahead

The journey to Brexit is going to be long and complex and Theresa May's triggering of Article 50 this week is just the first step. There are a myriad of decisions to be made, issues to be resolved and personalities to manage. With the key players agreeing that "nothing will be agreed until everything is agreed", it is clear that the situations will be in flux until the very last moment.
28/03/2017 07:54 BST

From The Home Office To Downing Street: The Challenge Facing Theresa May

The contrast between Theresa May's and David Cameron's styles could be a refreshing change, with serious times calling for more serious leadership. But to really make a success of her time in Downing Street, May has a lot to learn, including how to adapt her style to the challenges of the office she now occupies.
30/09/2016 13:14 BST

The 2015 Intake: Less Male, Less Pale, Less Stale

Despite the uncertainty, one thing we do know is that the 2015 Parliament will be more representative of the country as a whole. Less male, less pale and less stale. When trust in politicians has been so low, this will be a welcome outcome.
12/04/2015 19:54 BST

'Cash for Access' - Time for Parliament to Get Its House in Order

What amazes me however, is that, as we have seen in previous 'scandals', there remain a diminishing few Parliamentarians who are so quick to consider outside interests, with not a thought about the risk to public perception of inappropriate influence...
23/02/2015 12:56 GMT

General Election 2015: A Six Party Race

This week marked the start of the unofficial General Election campaigns of the three main parties and already some are fatigued at the prospect of 120 days on the road. Though the outcome is as unpredictable as it has ever been in modern times, it is increasingly apparent that this will be a six-party election...
08/01/2015 21:24 GMT

What Jeremy Browne's Retirement Tells Us About Life After Politics

These retiring MPs will be inspired by the likes of Ruth Kelly and James Purnell before them. All stepped down while still relatively young, having recognised that political comebacks here are few and far between. But what the likes of Kelly and Purnell have also shown is there is life away from the public eye, the media spotlight and well beyond the ruthless world of politics.
16/10/2014 17:20 BST

2014: The Road to the Election

With 2014 marking the last full year before the next General Election, as well as the Scottish independence referendum and local and European elections, it might be fair to say our politicians are looking ahead with some trepidation at the year ahead.
08/01/2014 16:56 GMT

Still a Backbencher? Life Is Good

There are plenty of MPs who will be glad to see the back of this week. For many, Sunday and Monday nights were spent sleepless, waiting by the phone for that call from Number 10 rewarding them for their obedience to the whips and flattering questions during PMQs, only to discover that they are still backbenchers, without so much as a PPS role...
14/10/2013 11:18 BST

All Change Please: The New Transport Teams

Anyone hoping that this week's reshuffle would inject some much needed decisiveness into the UK's top transport and infrastructure projects will have been in for disappointment. The Department for Transport has had two of its ministers replaced, and the Shadow Transport team has had a change of leader...
08/10/2013 15:25 BST

LEPs and Whitehall - A Closer Link Is Essential

The Government has introduced core-funding to remove the reliance of LEPs on local authorities. For many this may seem confusing, given that deploying central government funding to minimise local government influence is surely still an example of government control.
12/09/2013 13:11 BST

Adonis Must Learn the Lessons on LEPs

LEPs are a great innovation and are already helping local communities build on their strengths to deliver growth, but they must have the right resources and structures in place to enable them to reach their full potential.
12/07/2013 11:21 BST

Westminster Must Set an Example on Internships

How welcome it was to hear Tuesday's Westminster Hall debate on unpaid internships. Hazel Blears, who led the debate, hit the nail on the head: "long-term unpaid internships, wherever the intern lives, are wrong." Let's hope the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) takes note.
20/06/2013 10:34 BST

Mercergate: A Lobbyist's Perspective

David Cameron described lobbying as "the next big scandal waiting to happen". The Prime Minister appears to have been remarkably prescient, but let's be clear, whilst the full story has still to emerge no lobbying firm appears to have been near this, it is about the conduct of a Parliamentarian.
31/05/2013 16:10 BST

Can a Dash for Business Expertise Solve Whitehall's Woes?

Civil service mandarins have had a tough time recently. Many government ministers have seen civil servants as obstacles to their plans rather than team players and the media has taken Whitehall to task over pay, perks and benefits.
20/05/2013 11:47 BST