Scottish Tories staff party Brexit advisory panel with Conservatives


Conservative politicians fill the gaps in party Brexit advisory panel 

ALMOST HALF of a new panel of advisers established to advise Scottish Tories on Brexit dangers will be composed of current Conservative politicians, leader Ruth Davidson has confirmed. 

The creation of the panel of seven follows two and a half months of uncertainty caused by a lack of UK Government plans for the Brexit vote. 

Davidson, who warned leaving the EU would damage Scotland’s economy, is now faced with defending the country being dragged out the 28 nation union despite Scots voting to remain. 

Commentatory Gerry Hassan described the group as being “top heavy with lobbyists & corporate interests”.

The Tory advisory panel is as follows: 

Adam Tomkins MSP

Tomkins, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Glasgow, is a serving Tory member of the Scottish Parliament. He previously advised the party on its devolution plans.

Alexander Stewart MSP

Stewart, previously a Perth councillor, was also elected to the Scottish Parliament this year for the first time. 

Ian Duncan MEP

Duncan is the third Tory politician selected to advise his own party on the Brexit fallout. Like Davidson, he opposed a UK exit from the European Union. 

Iain McMillan 

McMillan, who has previously advised the Tories on tax, was a senior business representative in CBI Scotland over decades. 

He stepped down suddenly from his role as director after the group was dragged into a scandal by officially registering to campaign against independence, after accusations of misrepresenting the views of members. The decision sparked a mass resignation from the CBI as universities and public groups tried to preserve their neutrality.

McMillan is a long-time opponent of devolution, having opposed the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and the extension of tax powers in the 2012 Scotland Act. 

Allan Hogarth

Hogarth is an ex-Tory official and candidate now specialising in corporate lobbying and campaigning. 

He worked for Tory chair Michael Forsyth from 1989, when The Herald reported he “led Mrs Thatcher's fan club” within the party. He stood for the party that same year in a Glasgow by-election.

Since then, Hogarth worked in business representative organisations like CBI Scotland. 

Now he leads the firm AH Strategies, which focuses on “developing stakeholder relationships and management, strategic public affairs, or media relations, event management.”

Gavin Hewitt

Hewitt led the whisky lobbyist group the Scotch Whisky Association for over a decade as chief executive. 

The SWA, dominated by big corporations like Diageo, has repeatedly spoken out against the risks of leaving the European Union – especially over whisky exports to countries with free trade agreements via the single market. 

Hewitt was previously within the UK diplomatic service, working as an ambassador across Europe. 

Rhona Irving

Irving is once again advising the Tories, having previously sat on the party’s 2015 tax commission. 

Now retired, Irving spent her career in PriceWaterhouseCoopers – a major auditor – as a tax expert. 

Picture courtesy of MrGarethm

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