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13/06/13 15:51

Lobbying Transparency

Scottish Government to bring forward legislation.

Minister for Parliamentary Business, Joe FitzPatrick, today announced that the Scottish Government would introduce a bill on Lobbying Transparency.

Following the public consultation undertaken by Neil Findlay MSP and his proposal for a Members Bill on lobbying transparency, Scottish Ministers believe that this issue merits the full resources of the Scottish Government to back its transition through parliament into law.

Mr FitzPatrick said:

“We have fortunately not experienced the same difficulties regarding lobbying in Scotland, as have been seen at Westminster, where we have a robust approach to parliamentary probity. The Scottish Parliament already has strict rules around lobbying activity.

“However, even though we do not face the same issues as Westminster, recent developments have clearly shown how important it is that we act now to put beyond doubt any question of lobbying impropriety in Scotland. There is still scope to take action to increase transparency in this area.

“We recognise the contribution that Neil Findlay MSP has made to this debate, and his work in bringing forward his proposal for a Member’s Bill. This work, including a public consultation, will not be wasted. It will help inform the Government’s development of its legislative proposals.

"The Scottish Government is now persuaded that it should put its full weight and resources behind this project and will introduce legislation before the end of the parliamentary session. The end product must be something that everyone can stand behind.

“The Government has always considered parliamentary probity a matter for Parliament. That position will remain a central consideration throughout the Bill process.

“To that end the Government envisages the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee taking a central role throughout the development and scrutiny of this Bill. We will seek to obtain cross-party consensus for improving the transparency of lobbying practice, working with all political parties, Mr Findlay and a wide range of stakeholders. This contrasts with the divisive and hurried approach that the UK Government has chosen to take.

“Reinforcing public confidence is not a party political issue, and this Government will not treat it as such.”