Scots Parliament warned on lobby regulation plans

The Scottish Parliament's standards committee is being warned that

attempts to control lobbying could create a two-tier regulatory

system.



As PRWeek went to press, members of the committee were due to discuss,

and possibly finalise, plans to push through tough regulations.



But in a report to members, civil servants have warned the plans could

create an unfair system, as the proposals only apply to PA

consultancies, and not to in-house practitioners or trade associations'

government relations staff.



The warning came after the committee received dozens of critical

representations from PA groups, including the Association of

Professional Political Consultants and the Public Relations Consultants

Association's public affairs committee.



APPC chairman Michael Burrell said: 'We are relieved and pleased the

committee has clearly registered our concerns and taken on board the

fact that what they are proposing will not achieve what they want.'



Plans being discussed by the committee include forcing lobbyists to

disclose details of clients, budgets and fees.



Committee members are also being urged by civil servants to take further

legal advice as the plans may contravene three articles of the European

Convention on Human Rights, relating to privacy, discrimination and

freedom and expression.



This follows an investigation into the legal implications by the PRCA

(PRWeek, August 17).



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