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The Lobby or Parliamentary lobby has its origins in 1884 when, because of civil disorder, the members' lobby of the House of Commons was closed to the public and access was restricted to political journalists whose names were kept on a list compiled by the Sergeant-at-Arms. The Lobby is a cartel for the provision of political information: in the words of one critic, ‘a self-perpetuating elite with written rules, whose members accord government ministers and spokespersons with anonymity in return for privileged access to political information’ (Horgan, 2001: 259). It is the formal association of the 220 or so newspaper, radio and television journalists based at the Palace of Westminster who deliver the majority of authoritative political news deriving from briefings by senior politicians ...

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