Scotland's lobbying register 'sets the bar', says Unlock Democracy

By staff writers
15 Jun 2013

The political reform group Unlock Democracy has welcomed the Scottish Government's decision to introduce a formal lobbying register.

But attention will now focus on the details, with a determination by campaigners to see that the promise of change is appropriately realised.

Commenting on the bill recently introduced in the Scottish Parliament, Peter Facey, the director of Unlock Democracy, declared: "This is exciting news; Scotland is setting the bar and we look forward to the seeing the government’s proposals."

He continued: "The real work of this issue has been driven by transparency campaigners, especially Neil Findlay MSP. We especially welcome the Scottish government’s commitment to a cross-party approach to this issue in stark contrast to the approach being adopted in Westminster."

"The real success will be a bill that is robust and covers all those who seek to influence Scottish authorities in a professional capacity. We anticipate that there will still be work to be done to ensure the proposals are not too weak. The campaign to open up lobbying will have a reached a significant milestone when we have a robust register in Scotland," said Mr Facey.

“Any Scottish register will be severely undermined if we do not have equally strong transparency legislation in Westminster as well. We hope that a healthy competition between Holyrood and Westminster will ensure that ultimately both registers will be as durable as possible,” said the Unlock Democracy director.

Independence campaigners say that this is another illustration that with self-government "another Scotland is possible".

They add that the progressive fruits of Scottish self-determination will also strengthen the hand of campaigners for reform in England, Wales and northern Ireland.

Unlock Democracy itself is not taking a position on the referendum in Scotland, but campaigns for political reform, openness and accountability at all levels of government in these islands.

Unlock Democracy and Spinwatch will also be unveiling a draft lobbying bill (for Westminster) in the Houses of Parliament on Monday 17 June 2013.

This will happen in a meeting with Jon Trickett MP, the shadow minister for the Cabinet Office.

* More information on the alternative Westminster lobbying bill: http://action.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/page/event/detail/publicmeeting/jjz

[Ekk/3]

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