ASPA chair slams proposed lobbyists registration

EDINBURGH: The new convenor of the Association for Scottish Public Affairs (ASPA), Stuart Crawford, has warned the Scottish Parliament over the planned registration of lobbyists.

The Stuart Crawford Associates founder said the major challenge for PA practitioners in Scotland this year would be the recommendations arising from a review of lobbyists’ role by the Parliament’s Standards Committee.

The committee has already announced that it will consider the registration of all commercial lobbyists later this year.

Crawford, who was elected chairman of ASPA before Christmas, is concerned the committee’s definition of commercial lobbyists as those working for a third party would penalise independent firms. ‘This seems to be an arbitrary decision that would mean an in-house lobbyist would not have to register their position,’ he said.

The review of the role of lobbyists in Scotland has been under the microscope since an Observer sting in 1999, which claimed that the political lobbying arm of Beattie Media had fixed up meetings with senior Scottish executive ministers and could influence their diaries.

The Parliament faces a busy year, with planned legislation on smoking in public places and a review of the Scottish planning system.

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