Scots Parliament puts off lobby regulation - for now

The Scottish Parliament has mothballed its controversial plans to

regulate lobbying.



The Parliament's standards committee was due to finalise the regulations

when it met on 12 September.



But the decision was shelved at the eleventh hour amid fears the plans

could be in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights,

relating to privacy and freedom of expression.



These fears were highlighted in written evidence from dozens of public

affairs consultancies and representatives, including the PRCA public

affairs committee and the Association of Professional Political

Consultants.



Lobbyists also said that as the proposals only apply to PA consultancies

and not in-house practitioners or trade associations' government

relations staff it would create an unfair, two-tier lobbying system.



Civil servants are now producing a further paper aimed at fully

addressing the legality and workability of the plans. It is expected to

be presented to the committee on 24 October.



The delay has angered leading MSPs, who are eager to see tough laws in

place to ensure there is not a repeat of the 1999 Beattie Media

scandal.



Beattie Media was accused in an Observer sting of peddling access to

MSPs when pitching for business.



Speaking at the committee meeting, MSP Mike Rumbles said members will

not be swayed from putting in place the regulations, which include

forcing commercial lobbyists to disclose details of clients, budgets and

fees.



PRCA public affairs committee chairman Simon Nayyer said: 'The committee

must satisfy itself that it is not trying to put forward something that

is discriminatory and may contravene the European Convention of Human

Rights'.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.