The battle over the proposed merger between the UK’s Public Relations and Communications Association and the Association of Professional Political Consultants is picking up steam.

Proponents released an open letter on Aug. 22 that called the merger “a once-in-a-decade opportunity for our industry.”

It was signed by 30 industry leaders such as Weber Shandwick UK CEO Rachel Friend and Hill + Knowlton Strategies CEO, UK and global chair Richard Millar.

That statement follows one from the Campaign for an Independent APPC, signed by 21 APPC members, claiming that the merger plans would essentially be a takeover.

In addition to diluting the identity of the public affairs industry, it says the move would threaten the APPC’s code and disciplinary procedure. It also says the merger would penalize APPC members who are not also members of the PRCA.

The letter in support of the merger says that combining the two organizations would give the new entity a stronger voice, as well as giving APPC members access to PRCA resources, and reducing the bookkeeping burdens on those who now belong to both organizations.

“The success of the PRCA in recent years, its growth, global reach, and deep connections with the UK public affairs industry make it the obvious home for the APPC, which can thrive as a constituent part of the PRCA, with representation at all levels of the organisation” Andy Sawford, managing partner, Connect Communications and PRCA board member, wrote in a LinkedIn post on July 30.

But while APPC management committee member Darren Caplan says he welcomes “a healthy debate,” he says that those opposed to the merger “will continue to promote the case that an independent APPC is the best route forward,” citing the organization’s diversity, financial security and its “Gold Standard” code of conduct.

The vote on the merger will take place Oct. 8.