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Today, we've run statements by both sides of the merger discussion. The following statement has been sent today to the APPC Chair Paul Bristow presenting the additional angle of a "pause" on the vote.

Signatories: Ian Kennedy, Lexington Communications, Partner ¦ Alex Deane, FTI Consulting, Senior Managing Director ¦ Simon Whale, Luther Pendragon, Managing Director ¦ Nick Lansman, Political Intelligence, Founder & Chairman

To the APPC leadership

We are writing to you to seek a pause in the APPC-PRCA merger vote.

We are all convinced that that it is not in the best interests of the industry to pursue a vote at this time. It is clear that if the vote goes ahead, whatever the outcome, there is likely to be significant division within the industry. A pause followed by a proper consultation is the only common sense solution.

It has been clear from conversations with colleagues right across the industry that both public supporters of the proposal and those against it agree that the APPC-PRCA merger process has not been adequate for a decision of such importance. So we call on the Management Committee to suspend the voting proceedings and the EGM scheduled for 8 October, so that a wide-ranging consultation on the merger proposals and possible alternatives can take place in the coming months.

At the same time as the consultation the Management Committee and its Directors would be tasked with undertaking a thorough process of due diligence related to the merger, and to seek to fully investigate the implications of any changes to the APPC’s Code of Conduct and its independent complaints procedure.

We sincerely believe that pausing the vote now will enable all members – whether pro merger, pro independence or undecided – to have a much better understanding of the implications of the proposals and of alternative ideas for a better APPC. It would give us a greater chance to build a broad consensus about the best way forward for the APPC. The vote could then be revisited, if it is clear that this is what members want, after this consultation has been undertaken.