PUBLIC SECTOR: Scottish Executive press team denies gallery access bid

The Scottish Executive's press team this week denied it was pushing for an exemption from last week's ruling banning PROs from watching Scottish Parliament debates from the press gallery.

Following last week's letter from presiding officer Sir David Steel to party political leaders stating that PROs are not allowed to remain in the press gallery during debates, PRWeek sources have claimed that the SE's press office staff have been aiming to secure an exemption.

A Scottish Executive spokesperson confirmed that the press office had since 'entered discussions' with Steel on the ban, but stressed it was merely to seek 'clarification' on what its PROs were allowed to do in the gallery.

The spokesperson claimed that should the ban remain, 'some (of the SE's) messages may be misconstrued'.

He said: 'To carry out our job to the best of our ability we need access. We see our role as serving the Executive and ensuring the correct messages get across.'

The 44-strong SE comms team is run by head of press office Colin Imrie.

The spokesperson confirmed Imrie planned to write to Steel to press the SE's case for press gallery access, saying: 'We need clarification on what we can and cannot do'.

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