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Lobbying proposals enhanced

Published: 4 Feb 2016 04:00

Two-year review plan for new legislation.

Scottish Government plans to increase transparency around lobbying have been enhanced, with the commitment to a two-year review of new legislation.

The Scottish Parliament will today consider Stage 2 of the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill, which fulfils a pledge by the Scottish Government in the Programme for Government and follows a public consultation last year.

Of the 13 recommendations contained in the Stage 1 report of Parliament's Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments (SPPA) Committee, the Scottish Government has already made provision for eight, is accepting two more in full and partly accepting the remaining three.

Parliamentary Business Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

"There are already strict rules around lobbying in the Scottish Parliament but it is important we do all we can to increase transparency.

"Following the SPPA Committee's Stage One recommendations, we are committing to creating a two-year review of any new legislation and to extending the proposals to register lobbying of ministers to include lobbying of special advisers.

"We are also proposing the revision of our Bill by exempting all communication by a trade union or employer that forms part of, or relates directly to, terms and conditions of employment. We also propose extension of the definition of 'lobbying' to include video conferencing, as well as face-to-face communication.

"In Scotland we are rightly proud of our Parliament and our tradition of open government. These Stage 2 amendments extend that principle further and ensure that lobbying is as open and transparent as possible."

Notes to editors

The Bill builds on the work of the Standards, Procedures, Public Appointments Committee and will establish a register of lobbying activity of paid 'consultant' and in-house lobbyists. This will place an obligation on organisations to register following their lobbying of MSPs or Ministers.