Group starts petition in response to Andrew Wilson being appointed the SNP's growth commission chair
THE Scottish Alliance for Lobbying Transparency (SALT) has launched a petition to urge the SNP to clarify and correct any potential conflict of interests on its Growth Commission.
It has asked for the Scottish Government to put into action legislation it passed in the last parliament for a statutory register of lobbying activity, to show who is trying to affect government policy making.
The other demands of the petition are that Andrew Wilson, who works for lobbying firm Charlotte Street Partners, is replaced as chair of the commission and any future chair has their interests checked against their role on the commission.
"The Scottish public deserve to have high confidence and be offered transparency in the policy making process of their democratically elected government." SALT
In a statement the group said: "Scotland’s governing party, the SNP, have set up a commission to advise them on aspects of their economic policy. They have appointed Andrew Wilson, a partner in major Scottish corporate lobby firm Charlotte Street Partners to chair the growth commission.
"This firm has taken the decision to not be a part of professional voluntary codes of conduct that ask for lists of clients to be published.
"The party of government has a significant responsibility to uphold confidence in our democratic system. This commission’s recommendations have a very high chance of becoming Scottish Government policy.
"The Scottish public deserve to have high confidence and be offered transparency in the policy making process of their democratically elected government."
"The party of government has a significant responsibility to uphold confidence in our democratic system." SALT
Wilson has previously held positions as RBS’s former head of communications, an SNP MSP and a shadow cabinet member, as well as a Scotland on Sunday columnist.
SALT also demanded that Charlotte Street Partners should publish their client list in line with professional codes of conduct for the lobbying industry.
Based in Edinburgh Charlotte Street Partners has a long and continuous connection with the Scottish government, predominantly in the form of Kevin Pringle, who until summer of last year was the SNP’s communications director, and a chief adviser to Alex Salmond.
According to the lobbying watchdog Spinwatch, Charlotte Street Partners has organised private dinner discussions with Nicola Sturgeon, special adviser on energy and enterprise Malcolm Fleming and the government’s head of policy, Colin McAllister.
The communications company also utilises the experience of its board, which includes banker Angus Grossart, chair of the government’s infrastructure investment body, the Scottish Futures Trust and former vice chair of RBS.
Unlike many other lobbying agencies south of the border Charlotte Street Partners does not disclose its lobbying clients to public scrutiny.
Picture courtesy of SALT
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