DIARY: Will the son of a Scottish Secretary swing the balance towards Beattie?

Beattie Media, the Scottish public relations and lobbying agency, seems to be attracting more than its fair share of controversy at the moment.

Beattie Media, the Scottish public relations and lobbying agency,

seems to be attracting more than its fair share of controversy at the

moment.



As the new-born Scottish Parliament debates how close a relationship it

wants to have with lobbyists, the Observer has exposed Kevin Reid, son

of Scottish Secretary John Reid and a public affairs consultant at

Beattie, for bragging about his contacts. Although Reid told the

Observer he could not promise access to ministers for his clients, he

gave a long list of high profile contacts to an Observer journalist, who

was posing as a potential client.



A few weeks ago the Scotsman wrote an article outlining how many public

sector contracts Beattie holds. It represents four of the 13 local

enterprise companies.



Beattie director Alex Barr says the agency’s hefty quota of public

sector clients does not pose conflict of interest problems. He tells me:

’We are very open, honest and above board about it.’



Now Aberdeen City Council has asked Beattie, along with 18 other

agencies including Shandwick and Media House, to pitch for a pounds

100,000 a year account to monitor the Scottish Parliament. Aberdeen’s

decision to hire a lobbying agency has been loudly criticised, with

Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles accusing the council of profligate use

and misdirection of public funds.



It will be interesting to see if Aberdeen opts for Beattie Media or one

of the many other consultancies on its list



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