Ministers to face grilling in Beattie Media hearing

Beattie Media consultants Kevin Reid, son of Scottish Secretary John Reid, and Alex Barr are to be asked to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s standards committee.

Beattie Media consultants Kevin Reid, son of Scottish Secretary

John Reid, and Alex Barr are to be asked to give evidence to the

Scottish Parliament’s standards committee.



The committee met on Tuesday to discuss the terms of reference of their

inquiry into ’Beattiegate’, allegations by the Observer that Beattie

Media public affairs staff have peddled cash for access.



A special adviser will be appointed to check the diaries of ministers

named in the Observer as contacts by Beattie lobbyists Kevin Reid and

Alex Barr. The ministers mentioned included John Reid, finance minister

Jack McConnell, enterprise and lifelong learning minister Henry McLeish

and minister for children Sam Galbraith. The ministers may be asked to

give evidence in person to the committee, along with First Minister

Donald Dewar.



The committee has decided to investigate whether Beattie Media has

disproportionate access to the Government and an unfair proportion of

Government and Government-backed bodies as clients.



It is hoping to hear evidence from Observer journalists as well as

Beattie staff. A formal report on its investigation should be placed

before the Scottish Parliament by November.



Meanwhile, Beattie Media has closed its two-strong public affairs

arm.



Barr, who worked for both the PR and public affairs divisions, will now

work solely on PR. Reid’s future with the company is not determined, and

he is on leave.



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