The Scottish Parliament has backed down over its plans to regulate
the lobbying industry.
Following evidence from PA consultants - who said that the regulation
would be unfair and in contravention of the Human Rights Act - the
committee has recommended that a watered down set of regulations be put
in place instead.
The Parliament's standards committee had wanted to force lobbying firms
to disclose a raft of details about clients, budgets and fees - or face
The proposals only applied to lobbying firms and not other companies
that give PA advice, such as law firms. The committee has now decided
that lobbyists only have to disclose names of their firm, staff and
The rules will now apply to other companies that practice public
affairs, not just dedicated lobbying outfits.
The committee has thrown out plans to prosecute lobbyists engaging in
sharp practice, instead favouring a public naming and shaming
Scottish Association of Professional and Political Consultants secretary
Robbie MacDuff said: 'We are pleased. What they are asking for now is
what we require in our own code of conduct anyway.'
A final report will be presented to the committee early next year and is
expected to be ratified by the full Parliament later in 2002.